Developing Background – Narrative Writing Lesson

The background/background information for a story is essential to grasping the meaning.

backgroundThis is something that I told my sophomores as they worked on their narrative short stories [as a part of my Narrative Unit at Mason City High School].

Previous to this lesson, students had:

  • created a ‘Day in the Life’ Comic
  • written a short narrative story based on that comic
  • peer editing one another’s short stories with regard to introduction and figurative language

Now my focus was on getting the proper background information for the story, making it more developed, yet understandable to the reader.

To see the complete lesson plan, click here: Before You Were Born – Narrative Writing Lesson Plan.

For my lesson notes, click here.

To help students with the background activity, I had them work on a Timeline. We did this together as a class, reminiscing on their first kisses, first time riding a bike, when they got their licences, when they broke a bone, etc.

This was helpful to generate ideas. I also gave students a personal timeline sheet so that they could write their own events down and choose what their next narrative stories would be about.


Their homework was to talk to a parent/guardian/older relative about their family history, their childhoods, and before they were born.  This would become the basis of their next narrative short stories! (We used this worksheet from Cottonwood Press to help us with that assignment.

Before You Were Born

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