Narrative writing ideas for year 3
Jun 16, 2018
The Australian Curriculum: English requires students to be taught a variety of forms of writing at school. The three main text types (previously called genres) that are taught are imaginative writing (including narrative writing), informative writing and persuasive writing. In the writing tests, students are provided with a ‘writing stimulus’ (sometimes called a prompt – an idea or topic) and asked to write a response in a particular text type. To date the text types that students have been tested on are narrative writing and persuasive writing. Informative writing is not yet tested by NAPLAN.
The writing task targets the full range of student capabilities expected of students from Years 3 to 9. The same marking guide is used to assess all students' writing, allowing for a national comparison of student writing capabilities across these year levels.
Since 2015, there have been two writing prompts: one prompt for Years 3 and 5; and a different prompt of the same text type for Years 7 and 9. Previously, there was one prompt for all year levels.
The change was made following consultation with content and assessment experts as well as with states and territory representatives and other educators and researchers. It was concluded that the NAPLAN writing assessment would be better served by two writing prompts, one for Years 3 and 5 and a different one for Years 7 and 9.
The use of two prompts should have no impact on how teachers prepare their students for the NAPLAN writing test, with students still required to write the same sorts of responses. Both writing prompts will be on the same type of text – either narrative or persuasive – students will not be able to choose the text type. The text type will be revealed on the day of assessment.
More information on the writing assessment can be found in the FAQ section for NAPLAN - writing test.
Assessing the writing task
Students’ writing will be marked by assessors who have received intensive training in the application of a set of ten writing criteria. Test administration authorities in each state and territory are responsible for the marking of the writing tests within their jurisdictions. All markers across Australia use the same marking rubric, receive the same training and are subject to the same quality assurance measures.
The writing criteria for both persuasive and narrative writing are summarised below.
Persuasive writingMarking criterion Description of persuasive writing marking criterion
AudienceThe writer’s capacity to orient, engage and persuade the reader Text structure The organisation of the structural components of a persuasive text (introduction, body and conclusion) into an appropriate and effective text structure Ideas The selection, relevance and elaboration of ideas for a persuasive argument Persuasive devices The use of a range of persuasive devices to enhance the writer’s position and persuade the reader Vocabulary The range and precision of contextually appropriate language choices Cohesion The control of multiple threads and relationships across the text, achieved through the use of grammatical elements (referring words, text connectives, conjunctions) and lexical elements (substitutions, repetitions, word associations) Paragraphing The segmenting of text into paragraphs that assists the reader to follow the line of argument Sentence structure The production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences Punctuation The use of correct and appropriate punctuation to aid the reading of the text Spelling The accuracy of spelling and the difficulty of the words used
The full Persuasive writing marking guide ( 5.7 MB) and the writing stimulus ( 407KB) used to prompt the writing samples in the marking guide are both available for download. Note: the Persuasive writing marking guide for 2013 remains current.
Use of persuasive structures
Beginning writers can benefit from being taught how to use structured scaffolds. One such scaffold that is commonly used is the five paragraph argument essay. However, when students become more competent, the use of this structure can be limiting. As writers develop their capabilities they should be encouraged to move away from formulaic structures and to use a variety of different persuasive text types, styles and language features, as appropriate to different topics.
Students are required to write their opinion and to draw on personal knowledge and experience when responding to test topics. Students are not expected to have detailed knowledge about the topic. Students should feel free to use any knowledge that they have on the topic, but should not feel the need to manufacture evidence to support their argument. In fact, students who do so may undermine the credibility of their argument by making statements that are implausible.
Example persuasive topics and different styles:
City or country (see example prompt 1.47MB)
A beginning writer could write their opinion about living in either the city or country and give reasons for it. A more capable writer might also choose to take one side and argue for it. However, this topic also lends itself to a comparative style response from a more capable writer. It can be argued there are benefits and limitations to living in the city and living in the country. A writer could also choose to introduce other options, for example living in a large country town that might have the benefits of city and rural life. Positions taken on this topic are likely to elicit logical, practical reasons and anecdotes based on writers’ experiences.
Books or TV (see example prompt 87KB)
A beginning writer could write about their opinion of one aspect and give reasons for it. However, this topic lends itself to a comparative style response from a more capable writer. It can be argued there are benefits and limitations to both books and TV. The reasons for either side of the topic are likely to elicit logical, practical reasons and personal anecdotes based on the writer's experiences of both books and TV.
It is cruel to keep animals in cages and zoos (see example prompt 407KB)
A beginning writer could take on one side of the topic and give reasons for it. However, this topic lends itself to be further redefined. For example, a more capable writer might develop the difference between open range zoos and small cages and then argue the merits of one and limitations of the other. The animal welfare issues raised by this topic are likely to elicit very empathetic and emotive arguments based on the writer's knowledge about zoos and animals.
Narrative writingMarking criterion Description of narrative writing marking criterion
AudienceThe writer’s capacity to orient, engage and affect the reader Text structure The organisation of narrative features including orientation, complication and resolution into an appropriate and effective text structure Ideas The creation, selection and crafting of ideas for a narrative Character and setting Character: The portrayal and development of character
Setting: The development of a sense of place, time and atmosphere Vocabulary The range and precision of contextually appropriate language choices Cohesion The control of multiple threads and relationships across the text, achieved through the use of grammatical elements (referring words, text connectives, conjunctions) and lexical elements (substitutions, repetitions, word associations) Paragraphing The segmenting of text into paragraphs that assists the reader to negotiate the narrative Sentence structure The production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences Punctuation The use of correct and appropriate punctuation to aid the reading of the text Spelling The accuracy of spelling and the difficulty of the words used
The Narrative writing marking guide ( 8.04MB) is available for download. Note: the Narrative writing marking guide for 2010 remains unchanged for subsequent years.
Use of narrative structures
Beginning writers typically structure a narrative by adopting a ‘beginning, middle and end’ approach to story-writing with a simple problem and resolution. As they mature their writing reflects a growing understanding that the middle of the story needs to involve a problem or complication that introduces conflict, danger or tension that must be resolved. It is this uncertainty that draws the reader in and builds suspense.
Students can be inspired by the wide range of narratives they have read, seen and heard, from traditional tales, myths and legends, to realistic adventure and science fiction. They will be familiar with themes like good versus evil, and surviving against the odds. A proficient writer uses these themes as a rich source of ideas for developing a cohesive, engaging story with elaborated characters in an appropriate setting.
Example narrative topic:
The Box (see example prompt 960KB)
National minimum standards
The national minimum standards for writing describe some of the skills and understandings students can generally demonstrate at their particular year of schooling. The standards are intended to be a snapshot of typical achievement and do not describe the full range of what students are taught or what they may achieve.
For further information on the national minimum standards see standards.
Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable. Coco Chanel
Quick summary: This lesson focuses on developing specific ideas for writing while also providing the opportunity to practise broader narrative writing skills. Students will watch Faber-Castell’s Rocket Ship clip, then use the clip as a prompt to sketch ideas as well as plan and draft a narrative. Students will then review a peer’s story and provide feedback and reflect on the improvements that they could make to their writing and approach to the task. This lesson is designed to provide valuable practice for NAPLAN, the national literacy test held in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9*.
Faber-Castell have long understood the importance of creativity to all people, especially to young people. They are also continuously searching for environmentally friendly processes and high-quality materials to enhance children’s creative experience throughout every development phase. For more information about Faber-Castell, click here.
- Students will be able to develop a clear and concise idea for a story and translate the idea into a written narrative.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 3 English
- Create imaginative texts based on characters, settings and events from students’ own and other cultures using visual features, for example perspective, distance and angle (ACELT1601)
- Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts demonstrating increasing control over text structures and language features and selecting print, and multimodal elements appropriate to the audience and purpose (ACELY1682)
Syllabus outcomes: EN2-2A.
General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.
Relevant parts of Year 3 English achievement standards: Students understand how content can be organised using different text structures depending on the purpose of the text. They create a range of texts for familiar and unfamiliar audiences, and re-read and edit their writing, checking their work for appropriate vocabulary, structure and meaning.
Topic: NAPLAN Preparation.
Unit of work: Faber-Castell – NAPLAN Preparation.
Time required: 120 minutes
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – much roaming and conversation with individuals and small groups will be required to support students with ideas development.
Resources required: Interactive whiteboard or projector with sound and internet access. Blank sheets of paper/sketch books for each student. Writing paper or writing books for each student. Pens/pencils. Example Narrative Plan. Peer Feedback template.
Keywords: NAPLAN, English, narrative, idea, mood, character, complication, setting, audience, creativity, structure.
*This lesson plan is not an officially endorsed publication of NAPLAN’s creators and administrators – the ACARA body – but is designed to provide practise for the Australian Curriculum’s compulsory NAPLAN testing scheme.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.
Narrative Unit for Year 3
In term 3, we are planning to do narrative for writing.
It is going to be delivered as team teaching with another teacher.
Any ideas for this team teaching on narrative text type? We’re looking for something new, engaging and interesting activities!
Any ideas gratefully received!!