Let's Talk About Books Tuesday: Teaching Personal Narratives

Today I am going to highlight one of my favorite Cynthia Rylant books for a little Tuesday Book Talk.  The Relatives Came is a wonderful book to introduce personal narratives.  It's also great to introduce making connections.  If you have ever had family from out of town come stay with you, you will have lots of connections to this book!

I found this read aloud on Youtube in case you've never read the book....

When I introduce personal narratives I start with an anchor chart with "Personal Narratives" written at the top.  We discuss what a personal narrative is and specifically what a memory is.  I always start out with Wilfred McDonald Gordon Partridge by Mem Fox which is such a tear jerker it's hard to read aloud to the class! 
This book establishes memories and we dismiss to Writer's Workshop and the kiddos practice writing about a memory. 

Usually the following day I read The Relatives Came and we start talking about specific memories.  We like to call this one "A time with family".  I print out a picture of the cover and we add it to the anchor chart so students have the visual to remember.
 Why I love this book!
I have plenty of memories to pull from when it comes to a time with family.  I love the part in the book when the relatives are all sleeping in one big room and the narrator says he has a hard time going to sleep with all that new breathing in the house.  It makes me think of sleeping on my grandma's floor in the living room with all the other cousins around.  I was always the last one to go to sleep!
The illustrations are just beautiful and fun too!
After I read each of these stories I write my story and model thinking, drawing a picture, and writing my story.  I have a story in mind for each of the following books so it helps to know what I will write ahead of time!   It also helps to get the picture done ahead of time so that your kiddos don't have to sit as you draw.  I never ever do this as I am launching Writer's Workshop, but at this point in the year they know the expectations for pictures. 

I follow up with a new book every other day (or sometimes every day) until we have a good handle on personal narratives. Here is a list of books I like to use: 
Roxaboxen by Barabara Cooney (A time you spent with friends)
Short Cut by Donald Crews (A time you were in danger)
**This story always sparks the best writing from my kiddos.....A time I got stuck in a tree, a time I got chased by a dog.....I would have never thought to add this to my list until I saw that Jessica Meacham used it in her personal narrative lessons.  I'm so glad I added it in!**
Big Mamas House by Donald Crews (A special time with family)
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (A time you overcame a problem)

Each day before the students go to their seats they "name" what type of memory they will write about that day.  Sometimes they use an example from the anchor chart and sometimes they come up with their own.  I love teaching personal narratives this way!  It really hits home with the kiddos too because they will refer back to the chart all year long.  There is nothing better than a student referring back to a lesson you taught months ago. (especially if their is a visitor in the room) :)

 Have a fantastic Tuesday friends and don't forget to check out all the fun books in the link up!