Reading Personal Narratives


ELAR-Grade-8 Personal Narrative Reading Personal Narratives
Students read and evaluate passages from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Then they determine the speaker, setting, audience, purpose, subject, and tone of the passage and relate those elements to the genre of personal narratives. Finally, they analyze the turning point in Douglass’s life as depicted in the narrative.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Reading Personal Narratives:

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Overview

In this experience, students read and evaluate passages from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Then they determine the speaker, setting, audience, purpose, subject, and tone of the passage and relate those elements to the genre of personal narratives. Finally, they analyze the turning point in Douglass’s life as depicted in the narrative.

Objectives

  • Identify the characteristics of a personal narrative.
  • Analyze the speaker, setting, audience, purpose, subject, and tone of a text.
  • Infer what the author’s life was like and relate that to the overall message of the personal narrative.

Duration

One or two class periods. You may choose to have the students read the personal narrative outside of class.

Vocabulary Words Used in the Personal Narratives

  • privation: when things essential to existence, such as food and water, are in limited supply
  • woe: great sorrow
  • blasphemy: profane talk
  • stratagems: a plan to achieve an end
  • depravity: wickedness
  • chattel: item of property
  • pious: very religious
  • precepts: beliefs
  • ell: measure of length
  • emancipate: set free
  • sagacity: showing good judgment
  • benevolent: well-meaning and kind
  • bogs: wet, muddy ground
  • entreating: treat someone in a specific manner
  • ardor: enthusiasm or passion


A personal narrative is a personal story written about a specific moment in an author’s life. One of the main characteristics is that a personal narrative is reflective. The author reflects back on his life, choosing a moment that led to a change or a lesson learned.


old photographs

In this experience, you will read an example of a personal narrative—an excerpt from a larger piece of work called Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. While reading, you will determine why this is considered a personal narrative, and how the author’s experiences led him to become the man he was by the time he was writing the narrative. You will also evaluate his purpose for writing and the tone he uses, and how both contribute to his overall message.

Objectives:

  • Identify the characteristics of a personal narrative.
  • Analyze the speaker, setting, audience, purpose, subject, and tone of a text.
  • Infer what the author’s life was like and relate that to the overall message of the personal narrative.


Think back to the most powerful stories you have read or heard. Why do you remember these stories? What makes them memorable?



Discuss one of these stories with a partner and explain why it stayed in your memory.


Use student responses to spark a discussion regarding the power of stories and what we can learn from other people. Student answers will likely include stories that had strong emotion, or stories about something they could relate to or a situation they care about. Emphasize that most likely a common feature is that the author cared deeply about the topic.


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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Personal Narrative Unit.
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