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Why is narrative writing important?

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2015 10:46 AM

Narrative writing is about being able to tell an engaging story. It's a good skill to have, but is it something teachers should be focusing on? After all, how many people use narrative writing in college or a career? The Common Core State Standards emphasize narrative writing in elementary school, but as students advance to middle and high school, informative and argument texts become the focus. However, that concentration on narrative writing in elementary school is beneficial for building essential English/language arts skills. Read on for why narrative writing is important:

To foster creativity
Beginning in kindergarten, the State Standards ask students to use a mix of drawing, dictating and writing to tell a story about an event or set of events they experienced and how they felt about it. As students proceed through elementary school, they should begin to use dialogue, descriptive details and other techniques to make their stories more interesting and engaging. Children must learn to use their imaginations to think outside of the box and craft unique and exciting stories.

To improve reading
In elementary school, students read mainly narrative books and texts, whether they're non-fiction accounts of historical events or fictional chapter books. Studying how to write in the narrative style improves a student's ability to read and understand narrative texts, which means he or she will gain improved reading skills. 

To develop a better understanding of language
Narrative writing uses language in a completely different way than opinion or informative writing. Language devices, like onomatopo?eias, alliteration and hyperbole, make connecting words and crafting phrases fun and interesting, and they provide new ways to add details or change sentence structure. Plus, they'll prepare students for reading literature and other texts that take liberties with the English language, like Shakespearean plays and poetry. 

Because narrative writing appears in other styles
Writing styles are not mutually exclusive. In other words, an informative or opinion piece may have narrative elements within it to make the story more interesting or relatable to readers. For instance, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist may incorporate an emotionally charged narrative to make his or her news story compelling and interesting. As students move through grade school and begin to focus more on informative and argument writing, they should be able to incorporate some of their story-telling abilities. An informative paper full of a list of facts and statistics is much more engaging when the writer is able to relate that information in a narrative way.