Recently I asked my class of sixth graders (well, it’s May—they are almost seventh graders) whether they preferred writing narrative or persuasive pieces. It was a fair question since each type of writing offers different structure and thought processes. This year’s class is awesome at writing persuasive essays; however, they almost unanimously chose narrative as their favorite type of writing. They elaborated so thoroughly on their reasons (a wonderful persuasive skill) that it will take me two posts to share it all with you. So here, from the minds of 31 almost seventh graders, are the reasons why narratives are better writing assignments than persuasive essays.
First, the narrative format gives the writer more freedom. Quentin compares the two by saying, “The only real format for narrative is that there has to be paragraphs. Persuasive is a certain format that you must always follow. Students might not have fun with having to follow the same paragraph format every time when writing. “ Valerie says, “Narrative writing only has a beginning, middle, and end. Persuasive needs a topic sentence with reasons and why the reasons help the topic sentence.” Jordan also prefers the less structured narrative. He says, “Narrative stories are very easy to plan out. Instead of wasting time thinking of reasons for a main idea in a persuasive, you can be very creative about things and make up interesting problems in a narrative.” Caitlin says, “In persuasive you have to come up with multiple reasons to support an opinion that you don’t even feel strong about. “ Wasting time? An opinion you don’t care about? Clearly Jordan and Caitlin prefer narrative. Amrita is the most passionate when she writes, “The freer format of narrative gives fewer opportunities for errors as well as providing more ways to add detail to a story. Crafting a story unleashes the power of the imagination, opening up new possibilities.”
Another reason students prefer narrative is that they believe it is easier. Andre says, “Narrative is easier than persuasive because persuasive has more steps than narrative. It also makes us feel tired.” Other students acknowledge that they had to learn how to write narrative, and maybe the learning itself wasn’t easy. According to Jordan, “Once you know how to do the little things in narrative, they will be very easy to write because all you have to do is write what you are picturing in your head about the story.“ Quentin goes on to say, “The fact that you have to think about the other side makes persuasive harder and take longer.“ I know students have been writing narrative far longer than they’ve been working on persuasive essays, so it might just be that they need to practice writing persuasive before it gets easier. At this time, though, Cristina sums it up by saying, “Narrative is a lot easier to write, and more people would rather write narrative than persuasive.”
Today’s last reason in support of narrative writing is that it is fun. I am proud that my students so firmly believe that! Julia says, “Narrative books are fun to write and come from the soul. With persuasive writing, the reader or writer gets bored! The readers want to put the persuasive writing down as soon as possible. There is no action, romance, or thrilling moments in persuasive writing, making it boring to read or write. However, narrative writing has all of these things, making it fun and exciting.” Marina says, “Narrative is much more interesting to read, more fun to write, and makes the writer feel proud after it is written. When you read a persuasive, you can get bored. Every persuasive has the same format, the same structure…narratives may be based off of some main principles, but each one is different and unique. Also, a narrative is more fun to write. You can put yourself in a situation and watch what happens. In a persuasive, there is no excitement, no interesting problems to watch characters solve. It is simply a message in your head stretched to a multi-paragraph essay.” I may be biased, but I totally agree. Maybe that is why my students enjoy writing narratives so much!
Tune in tomorrow when my student continue trying to convince you that narrative writing is much better than persuasive! In the meantime, if you have objections, make sure to put them in comments!
In paperback: Ramses: Son of Light by Christian Jacq