25 Creative Writing Prompts About The Zoo
Zoos have long been an iconic and important aspect of our shared human culture . From their educational and conservation efforts to the delight and awe they inspire in children and adults alike, zoos embody a unique intersection of nature , science , and entertainment. They allow us to peek into the fascinating world of wildlife and make tangible connections with species we wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
But have you ever wondered about how you can use the element ‘zoo’ to spark that long- lying -dormant creativity of yours?
These zoo writing prompts offer a pathway for us to explore not only the myriad of creatures housed within their confines, but also the array of human experiences, emotions , and lessons to be learned from these wildlife parks .
In this blog post, we will delve into a collection of intriguing and thought-provoking prompts to stimulate your imagination , prompting you to weave tales of adventure , discovery, empathy , and conservation that start at the gates of your local zoo.
Writing Prompts About The Zoo
- A Zoo Night Shift : The zoo has been your workplace for over a decade. You’re the night keeper, responsible for ensuring all the animals are secure, fed, and healthy after the sun goes down. An unexpected event on one peculiar night changes your life forever. Write a story exploring the challenges and experiences of a zookeeper during the night shift. Narrate the unusual event and its impact on your life.
- A Zoo from an Animal’s Perspective : You are a newly arrived animal at a well-known zoo. You’re trying to understand your new environment, adjust to the new routine, and interact with different animals. In this prompt, dive deep into the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of this animal, making sure to explore the nuances of its interactions with the other zoo inhabitants. The main challenge is to portray the zoo world from an animal’s point of view .
- Mystery of the Missing Zoo Animal : One morning, the zoo staff discovers that one of the rarest animals has gone missing without a trace. As a detective assigned to this case, explore the possible clues and identify the culprit. This prompt invites you to weave a suspenseful tale that combines the unique setting of a zoo with elements of a detective story. Focus on the investigation process and the eventual revelation of the culprit.
- An Unusual Friendship at the Zoo : Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city zoo, an unusual friendship forms between a timid zookeeper and an aggressive animal, a friendship that blossoms over time and changes both their lives. Use this prompt to tell a heartfelt story about the unlikely bond between the zookeeper and the animal. The narrative should revolve around the development and impact of this unexpected friendship.
- The Zoo Reform : You are the newly appointed director of a poorly managed zoo. Your mission is to reform the zoo’s practices and improve the living conditions for the animals. In this prompt, describe the hurdles you face in implementing these changes and the strategies you use to overcome them. Your writing should center around the process of transformation and the effect it has on the zoo and its inhabitants.
- A Zookeeper’s Struggle : A lifelong zookeeper, you have dedicated your life to the well-being of the animals in your care. Suddenly, a new policy threatens the future of the zoo and the animals you love . This prompt asks you to chronicle your fight against this policy, rallying support and advocating for the animals’ welfare. Highlight your efforts, the challenges faced, and the outcome of this struggle.
- A Child’s First Visit to the Zoo : As a young child, visiting the zoo for the first time can be a magical experience. Write a story about a child’s first trip to the zoo, exploring their initial excitement, the wonder of seeing wild animals up close, and the lessons they learn about nature and conservation. Your main task is to capture the child’s perspective and their emotional journey during this trip.
- The Zoo Protest : As an environmental activist, you’ve staged a protest against a zoo for its unethical practices and treatment of animals. This prompt urges you to describe the events leading up to the protest, the protest itself, and its aftermath. The focus should be on the cause, the execution of the protest, and its impact on the zoo’s operation.
- The Zoo Break : You are a zoo animal who has devised an intelligent plan to escape from the zoo, in search of freedom . In this story, take us through the planning stages, the thrilling escape, and the adventures that follow. Describe the zoo escape and its consequences from the animal’s perspective.
- Zookeeper’s Diary : You are a zookeeper who has decided to write a diary detailing your everyday experiences at the zoo. Each day presents new situations, challenges, and joys as you care for a variety of animals. The key element of your story should be the insights gained and emotions experienced during your day-to-day encounters with the animals.
- Designing a Revolutionary Zoo : You’re an innovative architect given the task of designing a new-age zoo that would revolutionize the way animals are housed and viewed. Detail your creative process, the challenges faced, and the public’s reaction to this fresh concept. Focus on the unique features of your design and its impact on animal welfare and human interaction.
- An Endangered Species at the Zoo : A new endangered species has arrived at the zoo, and it’s your responsibility as the head zookeeper to ensure its survival and well-being. Describe the specific care routines, the difficulties encountered, and the journey of acclimatizing the animal to its new environment. The narrative should concentrate on your dedication to the endangered species and the ups and downs of the process.
- The Zoo’s Night-time Wonders : The zoo is a different world at night, and you’ve decided to stay after hours to document the nocturnal activities of the animals. Write about your observations, the surprising animal behaviors, and the serene beauty of the zoo at night. The focus should be on the transformation of the zoo after dark and the secrets it reveals.
- The Traveling Zoo : In a world where physical zoos are obsolete, a traveling holographic zoo is the new trend. You’re a part of the team operating this futuristic project. Share your experiences of the challenges, the public responses, and the overall impact of this revolution in animal viewing. The emphasis should be on the technology , operation, and the societal effects of this traveling holographic zoo.
- Zoo Animal’s Birthday Celebration : For the first time, the zoo has decided to publicly celebrate the birthday of one of its oldest inhabitants, a beloved gorilla. As the event planner, describe the preparations, the event itself, and the reactions of both the gorilla and the visitors. Your writing should focus on the celebration, its significance, and the emotions surrounding the event.
- Zoo during a Natural Disaster : A natural disaster has hit the city, and as the zoo director, you’re tasked with ensuring the safety and welfare of all the animals amidst the chaos. Write about the quick decisions you have to make, the rescue operations, and the aftermath of the disaster. Highlight your role in managing the crisis at the zoo and the effects of the disaster on the zoo community .
- A Zoo Wedding : As a zoo director, you’ve been asked to organize a wedding ceremony at the zoo for a couple who are passionate about wildlife conservation. Write about the unique challenges and opportunities that arise from planning such an unusual event. Focus on the creative ways you incorporate the zoo setting and animal themes into the wedding ceremony.
- Life After Retirement for a Zookeeper : You are a retired zookeeper trying to adapt to a life away from the animals and the zoo that were once your everyday companions. Detail your journey of transition, reminiscing about the past , and finding new purpose post-retirement. Your narrative should revolve around the emotional experience of moving away from the life you knew and loved.
- Zoo in the Future : Imagine a zoo a hundred years into the future. What does it look like? How has technology affected the way zoos operate, and how humans interact with animals? Delve into the hypothetical future, predicting changes in ethics, conservation efforts, and technological advancements. Describe this future zoo and the potential societal and environmental implications it might have.
- The Zoo’s Oldest Inhabitant : You are the oldest animal in the zoo, who has seen zookeepers come and go, and has witnessed several changes over the years. Write a story from this animal’s perspective, highlighting its observations, memories, and wisdom gained over the years. Narrate the zoo’s evolution and its impact on the animal’s life.
- The Zoo’s Influence on a Child’s Career : As a successful wildlife biologist, reflect on your regular visits to the zoo as a child that inspired you to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. Share your journey, touching on the critical moments during your zoo visits that shaped your passion and dedication to animals. Focus on the powerful influence that these zoo visits had on your career choice.
- The Zoo during a Pandemic : The global pandemic has drastically affected the operations of the zoo, forcing it to adapt to new circumstances. As the zoo manager, you have to deal with the challenges of caring for the animals amidst lockdowns and social restrictions. Your story should discuss the pandemic’s impact on the zoo, the animals, and the necessary adaptations.
- A Virtual Zoo Tour Guide : In a bid to keep the public engaged during a forced closure, the zoo has decided to offer virtual tours. You, as a tour guide, are assigned the task of making these tours as engaging and educational as possible. Describe your experience of leading these virtual tours and their reception by the public.
- The Return of an Extinct Species : Imagine a scenario where scientists have managed to bring back an extinct species. The first of this resurrected species is being housed in your zoo. Discuss the preparation, unveiling, public reaction, and the implications of this groundbreaking development. Focus on the journey of this extinct-turned-living species in the modern world and its significance.
- An Animal Adoption Program at the Zoo : Your zoo has launched an animal adoption program to support conservation efforts. As the person in charge, narrate your journey, the challenges faced in implementing this program, and the public’s response. Highlight the process of setting up the program and its impact on the zoo and its animals.
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37 Writing Prompts about the Zoo
A child can look into the eyes of a tiger when they go to a zoo and have a million thoughts go through their head.
How did the tiger get so strong? How did it end up in the zoo? Why is it striped?
One thing that happens for every child, though, is that their minds are captivated. The natural world is opened up to them and for many a lifelong love of animals and nature is born. That’s why bringing children to the zoo is so important.
It opens worlds that they could never imagine up to them and their natural curiosity.
Today we’re going to tap into that, and inspire some thoughtful writing. We’ve also written some prompts about birds which you might find useful too.
Let’s dive in…
How To Use These Prompts About the Zoo:
Zoos have the power to capture a child’s imagination. However, children by their nature go from idea to idea quickly.
When they go to the zoo, they can be challenged and have worlds open up to them. They may just want to move on to the next thing quicker than they should to properly retain the ideas they learned there.
The zoo is also somewhere where children can be challenged with ideas around environmentalism and naturalism. For many children, these are new ideas to them that they need to take the time to think about to properly understand and retain.
That’s one of the reasons these prompts are useful. They act as a way making sure that a child can focus on what they took away from their trip to the zoo and make sure that they retain that information.
When used properly, they can even help a child think about the zoo and what they learned from going there at a deeper level than they normally would think about something they took in a base knowledge of.
The 37 Prompts:
- If you ran your own zoo, what would be the first animal you’d get for it? Why?
- If you could trade places with one animal at the zoo, which would it be? Why?
- Which animal looked like it was having the most fun? How do you know?
- Which animals would you like to see in the wild? Why?
- What do you think animals do when no one is there to watch?
- What do you think the animals think of being in a zoo?
- Do you think animals notice the people watching them? If so, what do they think about the people?
- Which animal is your favorite? Why?
- Research your favorite animal. What does it like to eat, where does it normally live, and what are some of its habits?
- Do you think animals like being in the zoo? Why?
- Which animal do you think would be the fastest? Why?
- Do you think the animals talk to each other? What would they talk about?
- Which animal do you think has the best diet? Why?
- What differences did you notice in the different animal enclosures?
- Do you think animals from different climates, like penguins, are comfortable? Why or why not?
- What animal did you go to first? Why?
- Did you decide not to see any animals? Why?
- Would you want any of the animals as a pet? If so, which ones? If not, why?
- What would happen if the animals broke out of the zoo?
- If one animal got out of its enclosure, would it help the other animals break out? Why or why not?
- Who takes care of the animals at the zoo? Why is what they do important?
- If you could take care of one animal at the zoo, which would it be? Why?
- Do you think the different are friends? Which animals are the best friends?
- Were there any animals you didn’t expect to see in a zoo? Why?
- Besides the animals, what did you see at the zoo?
- What do you remember the most about the zoo? What is special about that memory?
- If you could feed one animal, which would it be? What would you feed them?
- What animals do you think are in zoos in foreign countries? Why?
- What are some facts you learned about animals?
- Do you have any pets at home? How do house pets differ from zoo animals?
- Are the animals better off in the zoo or in the wild? Why?
- Have you seen any animals before you went to the zoo? If so, where?
- Did you see any mammals at the zoo? If so, which ones? What makes an animal classify as a mammal?
- Did your favorite animal change after going to the zoo? Why or why not?
- Did all the animals walk on four legs? If not, how did they walk? Why don’t they use four legs?
- What surprised you at the zoo? Why was that surprising to you?
- If you could change one thing about the zoo, what would it be?
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If you’re interested in more information and resources for teachers, there are plenty throughout our website that can be easily shared with friends and coworkers – take a look at our writing prompts about pets !
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Writing An Excellent Narrative Essay On A Visit To The Zoo
Narrative essays are one of the most popular kinds of creative nonfiction writing because they allow you to write from your own perspective in the first person point of view to tell a story about something that happened to you. Strictly speaking, they are typically true, not fiction, but in some cases it is acceptable to take some liberties with their telling.
The best topics for narrative essays are those that are memorable and that can be told using a variety of senses and storytelling techniques. A visit to the zoo is a great topic, because it is something that many people remember vividly having experienced themselves, and something that many people can relate to.
Follow these easy tips to write a great narrative essay about a trip to the zoo:
Engage all your senses
We experience things with all of our senses: sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. Too often when writing about an experience we focus only on how things looked. But try to use all the senses when telling about a visit to the zoo—what did the animal cages smell like? What did the cotton candy or popcorn taste like? How did the glass between you and the animals feel? This will make your writing much more rich and will make your reader feel like they are really there experiencing it too.
Use as much detail as possible
Part of giving your reader an authentic view of the experience is using as much detail as possible. Rather than just describing the color of something, also try to describe the texture or how it catches the light.
Try to include a surprise or a lesson
Most narrative stories will include some sort of surprise or lesson to make the story more interesting. Usually it isn’t enough to just write about how you went to the zoo and liked it. Instead, think about how it might have changed your point of view. Did you imagine what it would be like to live in a cage? Did you see your cat a little differently when you got home? Or did you learn something new while you were at the zoo? Any of these will bring another dimension to your paper that will make it much more interesting for your readers. They will also help your readers to understand why it was a significant experience that you remember and would write about.
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Let’s go to the zoo: narrative writing with emergent writers.
- Post published: July 15, 2015
- Post category: Anchor Charts / Narrative Writing / Word Wall Words / Writing
You know I love talking about writing. One of the newest SOLs in Virginia for kindergarten is requiring students to complete narrative writing. It really isn’t that hard. It’s just about routine. I’m going to talk about teaching early learners to write personal narratives.
Write what you know.
The first rule of writing is helping students understand they can write about what they know.
At the earliest, students can write a story about going to school.
Some will write with pictures, some with write with a few letters, and some will write using word wall words.
Making the connection between using word wall words to tell what they know will empower students to write about what they know.
Providing students with a circle map or bubble map about school. They can add pictures or text to the bubble map as a Monday brainstorming task. Each day after, the class can write one sentence about what they see.
Give them the tools.
Students can use a provided card to help their story.
The story can use word wall words and follow a pattern.
First, the student writes about where they went using the sentence starter, “We are going to the …”
Then the student can tell what they see at the zoo with the sentence starter, “I see the …”
Using this simple tool, students can write their first narrative with words.
This can easily be a process center.
The center can contain several narrative cards and writing paper.
Each week the students can choose a new strip for independent writing.
Show them early success.
Success begets success. If they see how easy it is to write a narrative, they will want to write more. As the writing becomes routine, you can up the ante in writing conferences. Students can add a feeling or emotion sentence. Students can also add transition phrases.
Click the link to have a FREEBIE Narrative Story Starter Set . I’d love to see your student’s writing. Send me pictures of their writing and I’ll post it. Success begets success…even for teachers.
If you’d like to see the full Narrative Writing BUNDLE set, click the link or the picture below.
This Narrative Writing Bundle has 4 Parts:
- Anchor Charts and Additional Lessons
- Narrative Writing Strips
- Small Moments Lessons
- Narrative Writing Digital Files.
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Imaginative Narrative – Bringing Home a Zoo Animal
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One-page imaginative narrative writing prompt with vocabulary options, space for an illustration, writing lines, and a checklist for editing.
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Narrative Writing Prompt:Visit to a Zoo (CCSS Aligned)
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- A Visit To The Zoo - Long and Short Essay
Essay on A Visit To The Zoo
A zoo is a place where different kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fishes are kept in cages or enclosed areas for people to see. It needs a lot of land to be taken care of. Below is an essay about visiting a zoo in simple English. It has short sentences so students can understand it easily. After reading this essay, students can write their own paragraph about visiting a zoo.
Descriptive Essay on A Visit to a Zoo
Most people can't easily go to far-off jungles or well-known national parks to see different animals. It's tough to find all those animals in their own homes. Plus, taking kids on a safari in the forest is risky to see animals, birds, and reptiles. That's why many people like going to the zoo. It's a fun and safe way to see all kinds of animals.
There is a wide variety of animals, birds, and beasts that are kept in cages in a zoo. Zoo also keeps animals of rare species. Many animals and birds are brought from foreign lands. This gives the visitors an opportunity to watch such animals and birds of rare species brought from foreign lands, which they could have never seen otherwise.
Zoos are like homes for animals from all around the world. Lions from Africa, kangaroos from Australia, gorillas, chimpanzees, zebras, white tigers, white peacocks, polar bears, colorful parrots, big pythons, and giant crocodiles – they all live in zoos. These places are important because they help protect animals that might disappear forever.
Almost a thousand types of animals, birds, and beasts stay in zoos. Some zoos even help animals have babies in a safe place, called captive breeding. This helps save species that are in danger, so they don't disappear forever. Zoos play a big role in making sure these amazing creatures continue to exist.
These zoos and their maintenance actually show that mankind has an immense love for animals. Man cannot ignore the fact that these animals, birds, reptiles, and beasts are a part of nature. People get to see the variety of animals that exist on this earth. People get to interact, learn and grow with these species of animals.
Visiting a zoo brings human beings closer to these living beings. It makes human beings develop a liking for animals and birds. They get to learn so much about these animals too. Zoos have an aspect of geographical importance as well. They play a vital role in uniting and educating different communities. When we as visitors watch a species of an animal brought from a foreign land, we get to learn about how and where these animals live, about the climate, and the habitat in which they thrive naturally.
The maintenance of a zoo is a huge task. Animals, birds, reptiles, and fishes, from foreign lands with different climatic conditions are to be kept in such surroundings, climate, and temperature that matches that of their natural habitat. If that arrangement is not done properly these animals would not survive. In hot summers, tigers and lions require access to water to keep cool. A gorilla or chimpanzee requires trees and lush green areas to roam.
All these animals also need to be fed according to their original tastes and appetites. A leopard, a lion, or a tiger has to be served its due quantity of raw meat for every meal. A gorilla or a monkey should be served a vegetarian diet. There are some animals that are to be fed with fish. The python is capable of devouring a whole goat and so, it should be fed accordingly, without harming any other living being around it.
Going to the zoo is not just enjoyable; it's a great way to learn. Zoos teach us a ton about how different animals live and what they like. To make sure the animals stay healthy, the zoo has its own medical team and animal doctors. These doctors are well-trained and really good at their job. Animals at the zoo can get sick, and if their illnesses spread, it could be really bad for the whole zoo. Sometimes, the animals even need big surgeries and treatments to get better. So, keeping everything in good shape is really important at a zoo.
We visitors, at times, cause a great deal of risk to the lives of these animals and birds. Out of excitement, to feed the animals, we throw food in plastic bags to the animals inside their cages. The animals tend to swallow the plastic bags along with the food. The plastic gets stuck in their intestines and causes serious problems, and can even result in death sometimes. Along with this, to get some entertainment, the visitors sometimes risk their own lives. Out of curiosity, the visitors try playing around with wild animals, which, if triggered, can become violent.
The visitors coming to zoos, mainly children, should be properly oriented and refrain from such activities. The zoo authorities also have to take care of the mental health of the animals. The animals may develop stereotypic behaviors or even die prematurely if not taken care of properly. Thus, zoological parks help us learn, grow and have fun. They help us bring human beings closer to nature. We get to understand and live God's beautiful creations through these parks.
Short on a Visit to a Zoo Essay
Last Sunday, my family and I went to the zoo. It was a sunny day and we got there at 8 am. When we arrived, there was a big crowd at the entrance. Some people were buying tickets, and others were just enjoying the nice weather and chatting.
Inside, we found a lovely lake with ducks and swans swimming around. It was pretty cool to see all those white ducks on the water. As we walked around, we came across a place with lots of birds – parrots, pigeons, eagles, and sparrows of different colors. The birds were making some enchanting music, and we stopped to enjoy it for a bit.
Next, we saw big cats like leopards, lions, tigers, and tigresses. One lion even rushed towards us, and its roars were really loud and scary. Moving on, we checked out a tiger's den. The tiger had sharp teeth and gave us a fierce look. It walked gracefully towards us, but its roar made us step back. We also saw bears and elephants. The elephants were majestic, swinging their trunks in the air, and the bears were happily playing together.
In another area, there were deer and stags taking strolls, and they were playful and beautiful. We then found a spot with baboons and monkeys in a big tree. They were jumping around, playing pranks, and some even came down for bananas. Kids were having fun making faces at them.
Later, we visited an aquarium with colorful fishes and dolphins happily playing in the water. Near the end, we saw sad polar bears in an enclosure, so we gave them some food. The black bear in another cage was doing tricks, and people were thrilled. We also checked out crocodiles, snakes like pythons and cobras, but the hissing cobras made us move away.
After going around the zoo, we sat in a garden, surrounded by the sweet smell of flowers. The calm wind made it a perfect place to relax. We enjoyed the view with some snacks and drinks. As the sun set, we left the zoo with happy memories and excitement.
Visiting a zoo makes us learn a lot many things about the various species of animals besides the fun and frolic that we have. We get to learn about the tastes and habits of so many varieties of birds, animals, reptiles, and beasts. A zoo is a place that brings us closer to the living beings that we co-exist with on this earth – the animals, birds, reptiles, insects, and so on. It tells us about the balance between the animal species and their habitats. It shows us that animal life is as important as human life. It tells us even more about the wondrous creations of God on this earth.
The value of zoos lies in their ability to bridge the gap between humans and the natural world. They offer us a glimpse into the lives of creatures we might never encounter otherwise, fostering a sense of wonder and respect for the diversity of life on Earth. However, this privilege comes with a responsibility – to ensure the well-being of the animals in our care and to constantly strive for improvement in their living conditions.
Ultimately, the future of zoos lies in striking a delicate balance between education, conservation, and animal welfare. By prioritizing the needs of the animals we hold captive, we can ensure that zoos become not just places of entertainment, but also sanctuaries for endangered species and vital centers for conservation education. Only then can these wondrous, complex institutions truly fulfill their potential as ambassadors of the wild.
FAQs on A Visit To The Zoo - Long and Short Essay
1. What is the importance of zoological parks?
Zoological parks help us preserve endangered species to prevent them from becoming extinct. The breeding procedures in these places help us increase their population.
2. How would you describe a zoo?
A zoo is also called a zoological park. It is a reserve where animals are confined by making arrangements similar to their natural habitat. These enclosures are open for public view. Some zoos also opt for breeding. There are more than 1000 such enclosures available to the public. However, most of them are situated in major cities.
3. What are the good things about zoos?
Zoos act as a source of economy for the community and the country as a whole. They help us interact closely with nature and preserve endangered species as well. They act as an educational source and help us understand God’s beautiful creations.
4. Should animals be kept in Zoos?
Animals should be left to live freely in their natural habitats with their families, and not trapped in cages in zoos.
5. What are the advantages of Zoos?
Zoos act as protected spaces for endangered species of animals. They act as an educational and economic resource for society.
Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students
MASTERING THE CRAFT OF NARRATIVE WRITING
Narratives build on and encourage the development of the fundamentals of writing. They also require developing an additional skill set: the ability to tell a good yarn, and storytelling is as old as humanity.
We see and hear stories everywhere and daily, from having good gossip on the doorstep with a neighbor in the morning to the dramas that fill our screens in the evening.
Good narrative writing skills are hard-won by students even though it is an area of writing that most enjoy due to the creativity and freedom it offers.
Here we will explore some of the main elements of a good story: plot, setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution . And we will look too at how best we can help our students understand these elements, both in isolation and how they mesh together as a whole.
WHAT IS A NARRATIVE?
A narrative is a story that shares a sequence of events , characters, and themes. It expresses experiences, ideas, and perspectives that should aspire to engage and inspire an audience.
A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well.
Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing. We occasionally refer to a narrative as ‘creative writing’ or story writing.
The purpose of a narrative is simple, to tell the audience a story. It can be written to motivate, educate, or entertain and can be fact or fiction.
A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING NARRATIVE WRITING
Teach your students to become skilled story writers with this HUGE NARRATIVE & CREATIVE STORY WRITING UNIT . Offering a COMPLETE SOLUTION to teaching students how to craft CREATIVE CHARACTERS, SUPERB SETTINGS, and PERFECT PLOTS .
Over 192 PAGES of materials, including:
TYPES OF NARRATIVE WRITING
There are many narrative writing genres and sub-genres such as these.
We have a complete guide to writing a personal narrative that differs from the traditional story-based narrative covered in this guide. It includes personal narrative writing prompts, resources, and examples and can be found here.
As we can see, narratives are an open-ended form of writing that allows you to showcase creativity in many directions. However, all narratives share a common set of features and structure known as “Story Elements”, which are briefly covered in this guide.
Don’t overlook the importance of understanding story elements and the value this adds to you as a writer who can dissect and create grand narratives. We also have an in-depth guide to understanding story elements here .
CHARACTERISTICS OF NARRATIVE WRITING
ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Set the scene by introducing your characters, setting and time of the story. Establish your who, when and where in this part of your narrative
COMPLICATION AND EVENTS (MIDDLE) In this section activities and events involving your main characters are expanded upon. These events are written in a cohesive and fluent sequence.
RESOLUTION (ENDING) Your complication is resolved in this section. It does not have to be a happy outcome, however.
EXTRAS: Whilst orientation, complication and resolution are the agreed norms for a narrative, there are numerous examples of popular texts that did not explicitly follow this path exactly.
LANGUAGE: Use descriptive and figurative language to paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read.
PERSPECTIVE Narratives can be written from any perspective but are most commonly written in first or third person.
DIALOGUE Narratives frequently switch from narrator to first-person dialogue. Always use speech marks when writing dialogue.
TENSE If you change tense, make it perfectly clear to your audience what is happening. Flashbacks might work well in your mind but make sure they translate to your audience.
THE PLOT MAP
This graphic is known as a plot map, and nearly all narratives fit this structure in one way or another, whether romance novels, science fiction or otherwise.
It is a simple tool that helps you understand and organise a story’s events. Think of it as a roadmap that outlines the journey of your characters and the events that unfold. It outlines the different stops along the way, such as the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, that help you to see how the story builds and develops.
Using a plot map, you can see how each event fits into the larger picture and how the different parts of the story work together to create meaning. It’s a great way to visualize and analyze a story.
Be sure to refer to a plot map when planning a story, as it has all the essential elements of a great story.
THE 5 KEY STORY ELEMENTS OF A GREAT NARRATIVE (6-MINUTE TUTORIAL VIDEO)
This video we created provides an excellent overview of these elements and demonstrates them in action in stories we all know and love.
HOW TO WRITE A NARRATIVE
Now that we understand the story elements and how they come together to form stories, it’s time to start planning and writing your narrative.
In many cases, the template and guide below will provide enough details on how to craft a great story. However, if you still need assistance with the fundamentals of writing, such as sentence structure, paragraphs and using correct grammar, we have some excellent guides on those here.
USE YOUR WRITING TIME EFFECTIVELY: Maximize your narrative writing sessions by spending approximately 20 per cent of your time planning and preparing. This ensures greater productivity during your writing time and keeps you focused and on task.
Use tools such as graphic organizers to logically sequence your narrative if you are not a confident story writer. If you are working with reluctant writers, try using narrative writing prompts to get their creative juices flowing.
Spend most of your writing hour on the task at hand, don’t get too side-tracked editing during this time and leave some time for editing. When editing a narrative, examine it for these three elements.
- Spelling and grammar ( Is it readable?)
- Story structure and continuity ( Does it make sense, and does it flow? )
- Character and plot analysis. (Are your characters engaging? Does your problem/resolution work? )
1. SETTING THE SCENE: THE WHERE AND THE WHEN
The story’s setting often answers two of the central questions in the story, namely, the where and the when. The answers to these two crucial questions will often be informed by the type of story the student is writing.
The story’s setting can be chosen to quickly orient the reader to the type of story they are reading. For example, a fictional narrative writing piece such as a horror story will often begin with a description of a haunted house on a hill or an abandoned asylum in the middle of the woods. If we start our story on a rocket ship hurtling through the cosmos on its space voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system, we can be reasonably sure that the story we are embarking on is a work of science fiction.
Such conventions are well-worn clichés true, but they can be helpful starting points for our novice novelists to make a start.
Having students choose an appropriate setting for the type of story they wish to write is an excellent exercise for our younger students. It leads naturally onto the next stage of story writing, which is creating suitable characters to populate this fictional world they have created. However, older or more advanced students may wish to play with the expectations of appropriate settings for their story. They may wish to do this for comic effect or in the interest of creating a more original story. For example, opening a story with a children’s birthday party does not usually set up the expectation of a horror story. Indeed, it may even lure the reader into a happy reverie as they remember their own happy birthday parties. This leaves them more vulnerable to the surprise element of the shocking action that lies ahead.
Once the students have chosen a setting for their story, they need to start writing. Little can be more terrifying to English students than the blank page and its bare whiteness stretching before them on the table like a merciless desert they must cross. Give them the kick-start they need by offering support through word banks or writing prompts. If the class is all writing a story based on the same theme, you may wish to compile a common word bank on the whiteboard as a prewriting activity. Write the central theme or genre in the middle of the board. Have students suggest words or phrases related to the theme and list them on the board.
You may wish to provide students with a copy of various writing prompts to get them started. While this may mean that many students’ stories will have the same beginning, they will most likely arrive at dramatically different endings via dramatically different routes.
A bargain is at the centre of the relationship between the writer and the reader. That bargain is that the reader promises to suspend their disbelief as long as the writer creates a consistent and convincing fictional reality. Creating a believable world for the fictional characters to inhabit requires the student to draw on convincing details. The best way of doing this is through writing that appeals to the senses. Have your student reflect deeply on the world that they are creating. What does it look like? Sound like? What does the food taste like there? How does it feel like to walk those imaginary streets, and what aromas beguile the nose as the main character winds their way through that conjured market?
Also, Consider the when; or the time period. Is it a future world where things are cleaner and more antiseptic? Or is it an overcrowded 16th-century London with human waste stinking up the streets? If students can create a multi-sensory installation in the reader’s mind, then they have done this part of their job well.
Popular Settings from Children’s Literature and Storytelling
- Fairytale Kingdom
- Magical Forest
- Underwater world
- Space/Alien planet
2. CASTING THE CHARACTERS: THE WHO
Now that your student has created a believable world, it is time to populate it with believable characters.
In short stories, these worlds mustn’t be overpopulated beyond what the student’s skill level can manage. Short stories usually only require one main character and a few secondary ones. Think of the short story more as a small-scale dramatic production in an intimate local theater than a Hollywood blockbuster on a grand scale. Too many characters will only confuse and become unwieldy with a canvas this size. Keep it simple!
Creating believable characters is often one of the most challenging aspects of narrative writing for students. Fortunately, we can do a few things to help students here. Sometimes it is helpful for students to model their characters on actual people they know. This can make things a little less daunting and taxing on the imagination. However, whether or not this is the case, writing brief background bios or descriptions of characters’ physical personality characteristics can be a beneficial prewriting activity. Students should give some in-depth consideration to the details of who their character is: How do they walk? What do they look like? Do they have any distinguishing features? A crooked nose? A limp? Bad breath? Small details such as these bring life and, therefore, believability to characters. Students can even cut pictures from magazines to put a face to their character and allow their imaginations to fill in the rest of the details.
Younger students will often dictate to the reader the nature of their characters. To improve their writing craft, students must know when to switch from story-telling mode to story-showing mode. This is particularly true when it comes to character. Encourage students to reveal their character’s personality through what they do rather than merely by lecturing the reader on the faults and virtues of the character’s personality. It might be a small relayed detail in the way they walk that reveals a core characteristic. For example, a character who walks with their head hanging low and shoulders hunched while avoiding eye contact has been revealed to be timid without the word once being mentioned. This is a much more artistic and well-crafted way of doing things and is less irritating for the reader. A character who sits down at the family dinner table immediately snatches up his fork and starts stuffing roast potatoes into his mouth before anyone else has even managed to sit down has revealed a tendency towards greed or gluttony.
Understanding Character Traits
Again, there is room here for some fun and profitable prewriting activities. Give students a list of character traits and have them describe a character doing something that reveals that trait without ever employing the word itself.
It is also essential to avoid adjective stuffing here. When looking at students’ early drafts, adjective stuffing is often apparent. To train the student out of this habit, choose an adjective and have the student rewrite the sentence to express this adjective through action rather than telling.
When writing a story, it is vital to consider the character’s traits and how they will impact the story’s events. For example, a character with a strong trait of determination may be more likely to overcome obstacles and persevere. In contrast, a character with a tendency towards laziness may struggle to achieve their goals. In short, character traits add realism, depth, and meaning to a story, making it more engaging and memorable for the reader.
Popular Character Traits in Children’s Stories
We have an in-depth guide to creating great characters here , but most students should be fine to move on to planning their conflict and resolution.
3. NO PROBLEM? NO STORY! HOW CONFLICT DRIVES A NARRATIVE
This is often the area apprentice writers have the most difficulty with. Students must understand that without a problem or conflict, there is no story. The problem is the driving force of the action. Usually, in a short story, the problem will center around what the primary character wants to happen or, indeed, wants not to happen. It is the hurdle that must be overcome. It is in the struggle to overcome this hurdle that events happen.
Often when a student understands the need for a problem in a story, their completed work will still not be successful. This is because, often in life, problems remain unsolved. Hurdles are not always successfully overcome. Students pick up on this.
We often discuss problems with friends that will never be satisfactorily resolved one way or the other, and we accept this as a part of life. This is not usually the case with writing a story. Whether a character successfully overcomes his or her problem or is decidedly crushed in the process of trying is not as important as the fact that it will finally be resolved one way or the other.
A good practical exercise for students to get to grips with this is to provide copies of stories and have them identify the central problem or conflict in each through discussion. Familiar fables or fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Cinderella, etc., are great for this.
While it is true that stories often have more than one problem or that the hero or heroine is unsuccessful in their first attempt to solve a central problem, for beginning students and intermediate students, it is best to focus on a single problem, especially given the scope of story writing at this level. Over time students will develop their abilities to handle more complex plots and write accordingly.
Popular Conflicts found in Children’s Storytelling.
- Good vs evil
- Individual vs society
- Nature vs nurture
- Self vs others
- Man vs self
- Man vs nature
- Man vs technology
- Individual vs fate
- Self vs destiny
Conflict is the heart and soul of any good story. It’s what makes a story compelling and drives the plot forward. Without conflict, there is no story. Every great story has a struggle or a problem that needs to be solved, and that’s where conflict comes in. Conflict is what makes a story exciting and keeps the reader engaged. It creates tension and suspense and makes the reader care about the outcome.
Like in real life, conflict in a story is an opportunity for a character’s growth and transformation. It’s a chance for them to learn and evolve, making a story great. So next time stories are written in the classroom, remember that conflict is an essential ingredient, and without it, your story will lack the energy, excitement, and meaning that makes it truly memorable.
4. THE NARRATIVE CLIMAX: HOW THINGS COME TO A HEAD!
The climax of the story is the dramatic high point of the action. It is also when the struggles kicked off by the problem come to a head. The climax will ultimately decide whether the story will have a happy or tragic ending. In the climax, two opposing forces duke things out until the bitter (or sweet!) end. One force ultimately emerges triumphant. As the action builds throughout the story, suspense increases as the reader wonders which of these forces will win out. The climax is the release of this suspense.
Much of the success of the climax depends on how well the other elements of the story have been achieved. If the student has created a well-drawn and believable character that the reader can identify with and feel for, then the climax will be more powerful.
The nature of the problem is also essential as it determines what’s at stake in the climax. The problem must matter dearly to the main character if it matters at all to the reader.
Have students engage in discussions about their favorite movies and books. Have them think about the storyline and decide the most exciting parts. What was at stake at these moments? What happened in your body as you read or watched? Did you breathe faster? Or grip the cushion hard? Did your heart rate increase, or did you start to sweat? This is what a good climax does and what our students should strive to do in their stories.
The climax puts it all on the line and rolls the dice. Let the chips fall where the writer may…
Popular Climax themes in Children’s Stories
- A battle between good and evil
- The character’s bravery saves the day
- Character faces their fears and overcomes them
- The character solves a mystery or puzzle.
- The character stands up for what is right.
- Character reaches their goal or dream.
- The character learns a valuable lesson.
- The character makes a selfless sacrifice.
- The character makes a difficult decision.
- The character reunites with loved ones or finds true friendship.
5. RESOLUTION: TYING UP LOOSE ENDS
After the climactic action, a few questions will often remain unresolved for the reader, even if all the conflict has been resolved. The resolution is where those lingering questions will be answered. The resolution in a short story may only be a brief paragraph or two. But, in most cases, it will still be necessary to include an ending immediately after the climax can feel too abrupt and leave the reader feeling unfulfilled.
An easy way to explain resolution to students struggling to grasp the concept is to point to the traditional resolution of fairy tales, the “And they all lived happily ever after” ending. This weather forecast for the future allows the reader to take their leave. Have the student consider the emotions they want to leave the reader with when crafting their resolution.
While the action is usually complete by the end of the climax, it is in the resolution that if there is a twist to be found, it will appear – think of movies such as The Usual Suspects. Pulling this off convincingly usually requires considerable skill from a student writer. Still, it may well form a challenging extension exercise for those more gifted storytellers among your students.
Popular Resolutions in Children’s Stories
- Our hero achieves their goal
- The character learns a valuable lesson
- A character finds happiness or inner peace.
- The character reunites with loved ones.
- Character restores balance to the world.
- The character discovers their true identity.
- Character changes for the better.
- The character gains wisdom or understanding.
- Character makes amends with others.
- The character learns to appreciate what they have.
Once students have completed their story, they can edit for grammar, vocabulary choice, spelling, etc., but not before!
As mentioned, there is a craft to storytelling, as well as an art. When accurate grammar, perfect spelling, and immaculate sentence structures are pushed at the outset, they can cause storytelling paralysis. For this reason, it is essential that when we encourage the students to write a story, we give them license to make mechanical mistakes in their use of language that they can work on and fix later.
Good narrative writing is a very complex skill to develop and will take the student years to become competent. It challenges not only the student’s technical abilities with language but also her creative faculties. Writing frames, word banks, mind maps, and visual prompts can all give valuable support as students develop the wide-ranging and challenging skills required to produce a successful narrative writing piece. But, at the end of it all, as with any craft, practice and more practice is at the heart of the matter.
TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT NARRATIVE
- Start your story with a clear purpose: If you can determine the theme or message you want to convey in your narrative before starting it will make the writing process so much simpler.
- Choose a compelling storyline and sell it through great characters, setting and plot: Consider a unique or interesting story that captures the reader’s attention, then build the world and characters around it.
- Develop vivid characters that are not all the same: Make your characters relatable and memorable by giving them distinct personalities and traits you can draw upon in the plot.
- Use descriptive language to hook your audience into your story: Use sensory language to paint vivid images and sequences in the reader’s mind.
- Show, don’t tell your audience: Use actions, thoughts, and dialogue to reveal character motivations and emotions through storytelling.
- Create a vivid setting that is clear to your audience before getting too far into the plot: Describe the time and place of your story to immerse the reader fully.
- Build tension: Refer to the story map earlier in this article and use conflict, obstacles, and suspense to keep the audience engaged and invested in your narrative.
- Use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to add depth and meaning to your narrative.
- Edit, revise, and refine: Take the time to refine and polish your writing for clarity and impact.
- Stay true to your voice: Maintain your unique perspective and style in your writing to make it your own.
NARRATIVE WRITING EXAMPLES (Student Writing Samples)
Below are a collection of student writing samples of narratives. Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail. Please take a moment to read these creative stories in detail and the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the critical elements of narratives to consider before writing.
Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of story writing.
We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.
NARRATIVE WRITING PROMPTS (Journal Prompts)
When students have a great journal prompt, it can help them focus on the task at hand, so be sure to view our vast collection of visual writing prompts for various text types here or use some of these.
- On a recent European trip, you find your travel group booked into the stunning and mysterious Castle Frankenfurter for a single night… As night falls, the massive castle of over one hundred rooms seems to creak and groan as a series of unexplained events begin to make you wonder who or what else is spending the evening with you. Write a narrative that tells the story of your evening.
- You are a famous adventurer who has discovered new lands; keep a travel log over a period of time in which you encounter new and exciting adventures and challenges to overcome. Ensure your travel journal tells a story and has a definite introduction, conflict and resolution.
- You create an incredible piece of technology that has the capacity to change the world. As you sit back and marvel at your innovation and the endless possibilities ahead of you, it becomes apparent there are a few problems you didn’t really consider. You might not even be able to control them. Write a narrative in which you ride the highs and lows of your world-changing creation with a clear introduction, conflict and resolution.
- As the final door shuts on the Megamall, you realise you have done it… You and your best friend have managed to sneak into the largest shopping centre in town and have the entire place to yourselves until 7 am tomorrow. There is literally everything and anything a child would dream of entertaining themselves for the next 12 hours. What amazing adventures await you? What might go wrong? And how will you get out of there scot-free?
- A stranger walks into town… Whilst appearing similar to almost all those around you, you get a sense that this person is from another time, space or dimension… Are they friends or foes? What makes you sense something very strange is going on? Suddenly they stand up and walk toward you with purpose extending their hand… It’s almost as if they were reading your mind.
NARRATIVE WRITING VIDEO TUTORIAL
Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.
When teaching narrative writing, it is essential that you have a range of tools, strategies and resources at your disposal to ensure you get the most out of your writing time. You can find some examples below, which are free and paid premium resources you can use instantly without any preparation.
FREE Narrative Graphic Organizer
THE STORY TELLERS BUNDLE OF TEACHING RESOURCES
A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:
NARRATIVE WRITING CHECKLIST BUNDLE
OTHER GREAT ARTICLES ABOUT NARRATIVE WRITING
Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies
7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love
Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students
How to Write a Scary Story
The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
Writing Program for Kids - Night Zookeeper
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Writing Program FYW Resources
Tools for writing faculty, narrative writing: in-class essay.
Professor Josh Hall shared his narrative essay assignment , which is the first major essay, and is written in class, by hand. The assignment asks students to reflect critically on the role of reading and writing in their own lives, and then construct a personal narrative. The prompt asks students to follow clearly stated conventions for academic writing (a central theme, transitions and structure, relevant connections and supporting evidence). A strength of this approach is its combination of personal narrative and reflection with well-defined skills, bridging personal narrative with academic writing.
Professor Hall is passionate about teaching reading and writing because reading and writing are beyond practical “skills”–they are also tools for personal and intellectual inquiry and growth. To teach only “skills,” “rules,” “strategy,” and “utility” is to limit and devalue a richer experience of texts, thinking, and writing. This is one way to “advocate” for the importance of actually DOING the work of class, rather than allowing a bot to do it.
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MINI-ZOO SOZIDATEL: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)
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