My Crazy Dog: My Narrative Essay | Mims House

School Library Journal Review (November 2015)
Gr 2-4. This title opens with Mrs. Shirky giving her class the assignment to write a narrative essay. One of her students decides to write about his dog. The boy’s mischievous pup, Clark Kent, does not want to get his shots. In an effort to escape, he has many missteps including waking the baby, running outside, knocking over a bird feeder, jumping in a fish pond, and hiding under the porch. This book is good for visual learners, since it starts with big pictures and limited text. Illustrations are fun and feature thought and speech bubbles. A brightly colored list of see, hear, smell, taste, and feel words capture the mood of each scene. Tips about writing the narrative essay follow the sample essay and include choosing a topic, dialogue, introduction, and conclusion. The book ends with the dog asleep on the chair. VERDICT: A good choice to help the visual learners write narrative essays. – Robin Sofge, Alexandria Library, VA

Writing Narrative Essays

Second graders are required to write very sophisticated essays! They must put events in a correct time order, correctly punctuate dialogue in a conversation, and include thoughts.

This book is tailor made to help you teach narratives. As with all the Read and Write Series, cousins Dennis and Mellie discuss their pets.

Prewriting and Narrowing Topic. Reading through the book walks students through the prewriting process and helps them decide on an essay to write. For narratives, the temptation is to write about a big event in your life. However, the best essays come when students narrow the focus to a 15-30 minute time period and write about it in detail.

Write and Correctly Punctuate Dialogue. To help students write dialogue, speech bubbles contain each character’s actual conversation. Students can easily learn to create dialogue by writing the information in speech bubbles inside the quotation marks.

Time Order. By practicing the sequencing of a story in an oral storytelling manner for prewriting, it’s easier to put the story on paper.

Sensory Details. The story uses color to indicate sensory details of what you might see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. This prewriting exercise is the basis of great storytelling and narratives; it should be incorporated into every narrative essay lesson. Check the essay Dennis writes to see how the mentor text incorporates the sensory details into the essay.

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