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Personal Narratives is the perfect genre to launch our reading and writing program. One of the most wonderful things about working with first graders is that they love to tell stories. They love to talk about special moments in their lives. They also love to share stories about activities they do with their friends and families outside of school.

Our first unit of study in reading and writing workshop is called “Small Moments.” This unit prepares children to write about the exciting things that happen in their lives. Our young writers learn strategies that help them to bring the people in their stories to life by making them move and talk, think and feel. First grade writers also practice utilizing great writing skills such as using transition words, to demonstrate the sequence of the story and learn to use quotation marks to illustrate dialogue between characters. They also “fancy up” their writing by making a cover page, adding details and color to illustrations. 

During this unit, first graders practice going through the entire writing process:

  • Planning
  • Sketching
  • Writing
  • Revising
  • Publishing

Our mentor text that we used throughout the unit is called Night of the Veggie Monster.

George McClements’ book, Night of the Veggie Monster, really captures a Small Moment through a very relatable dinner tale. The main character is very expressive and captures the reader’s attention. We experience the main character’s strong emotions at the dinner table. This vivid tale teaches the reader about how characters think, move, and feel. The students then apply the author’s craft in their own Small Moment narratives.