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(Re)designing Narrative Writing Units for Grades 5–12

This user-friendly resource provides practical recommendations and strategies for designing units of study that center on students writing narrative fiction and nonfiction.


  • Learn a sequential approach to building a narrative writing unit.
  • Review how to structure a narrative.
  • Reflect on past teaching approaches and revise for future lessons.
  • Download free templates, checklists, rubrics, and student activities useful for designing a narrative unit and guiding lessons.
  • Access professional and student resources in print and online for teaching and understanding narrative writing.

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(Re)designing Narrative Writing Units for Grades 5–12

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Chapter 1: Building a Narrative Unit Map
Chapter 2: Formulating a Pre- and Culminating Assessment and Establishing Criteria for Success
Chapter 3: Using Gradual Release of Responsibility for Lesson Design in Action
Chapter 4: Designing Lessons
Chapter 5: Examining Text to Appreciate Content
Appendix A: Narrative and Descriptive Writing
Appendix B: Elements of Literature
Appendix C: Literary Devices and Figurative Language
Appendix D: Sentence Structure: Complex Sentences
Appendix E: Professional and Student Resources
Appendix F: List of Figures and Tables




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D




Chapter 2

Chapter 4

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E General Writing

Grammar and Conventions

Literary Devices and Figurative Language

Performance Assessment Tasks

Student Writing Models


Calibrating to Student Work

Peer Review and Feedback

Sources for Complex Text

Autobiography, Memoir, and Personal Narrative Resources

Unit and Lesson Examples

Essay Contests and Submissions

Graphic Organizers

Organizations and Associations