6 Read Alouds for Discussing Personal Narratives
July is a good time to start thinking about the read alouds that you will use in your classroom. At the beginning of the school year, I like to start with students writing personal narratives because I think this genre helps students to ease into their upcoming writing lives. I tell my students that a personal narrative is a story that has happened to them.
Read alouds are one way to create discussions around personal narratives. They can be used to spark writing ideas that students can brainstorm in their writer’s notebooks, and students can make personal connections to the experiences of the characters and situations. For example, after reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, students can discuss their own memories. They could write about the ones that mean the most to them.
Here are 6 read aloud suggestions that can help you get started with your read aloud collection.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
A small boy lives next door to an old people’s home. Miss Nancy is his favorite person to visit at the home. He learns that she has lost her memory. He asks the people in the home, “What’s a memory?” and gets lots of examples of things that make memories. He sets about to gather memories for Miss Nancy. When he gives her his box of memories, Miss Nancy finds her memories.
My Very Own Room by Amada Irma Perez
The author shares her experience of growing up in a tiny, two bedroom house with a large family. In the story, she is almost nine years old and shares a room with her five little brothers. They often have visitors that make the house even more crowded. She longs for a room of her own where she can read, write and dream, but their house is too small. She spies a tiny closet and with her family she turns it into a tiny bedroom just for her.
This story is told in English and Spanish.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Grace loves stories and acting them out. She wants to play Peter Pan in the school play. One classmate tells her she cannot be Peter Pan because she is a girl. Another tells her that she cannot be Peter Pan because she is black. Her family helps her overcome these opinions and she realizes that she can be anything that she wants. She auditions for the play and gets the part she desires.
Where’s Rodney? by Carmen Bogan
Rodney is easily distracted when he is in the classroom because he loves to be outside. The class is to go on a field trip, but Rodney is not excited because he thinks he knows all about parks. In his experience, they are no big deal! When they go on the field trip Rodney is in for a big surprise. He is able to experience the outside like never before.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
The main character has only one enemy, Jeremy Ross, and he wants to get rid of him. His dad tells him the fastest way for that to happen is for Jeremy to eat Enemy Pie. His dad offers to make the pie but for it to be successful, the two boys must spend the day together. The plan is put into action, but there is an unexpected outcome.
My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams
Eight-year-old Sangoel is from Sudan. He is a refugee. He leaves the refugee camp with his mother and little sister for America. His name is very important to him because it is the name of his ancestors. In America, he learns the American way of life. Each time his name is said, it is mispronounced by everyone he meets, he quietly corrects them but it continues. He begins to feel that he is losing his name and his identity. Then he gets an idea to help people understand how to say his name. His idea works.
Anchor charts can be created with possible writing ideas suggested by students and displayed in the classroom as go to charts for when students need inspiration.
Also, read alouds are a great time to discuss story elements: characters, setting, plot, problem, solution, theme, and change. The constant reference to story elements will help students understand that these should be found in all stories including the ones they write.