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Story Matters

Teaching Teens to Use the Tools of Narrative to Argue and Inform

Activities, lessons, and exercises to help teens learn to seamlessly weave narrative into their nonfiction texts for more powerful and engaging writing.

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Full Description

When we read a nonfiction text, what is the difference between one that keeps us interested and one that merely informs? Especially when the topic may be a bit, well, dry? The difference is narrative. The writer who threads a story throughout her text – using the tools of human connection, of narrative – is the writer who brings information to life.  The argument she makes is compelling and real, because we care about the story within her story. This writer understands the power of narrative.

In Story Matters, Liz Prather provides activities, lessons, exercises, mentor texts, and student samples to help teens learn to seamlessly weave narrative into their nonfiction writing. She provides concrete ideas for using the tools and techniques of narrative, including:

• finding stories within any topic
• using characters
• creating tension
• exploring structure
• selecting details
• crafting words and sentences.

Give Liz’s ideas a try and watch your students’ writing rise to new levels. Because story matters.

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


Ch. 1: Narrative as Home Base, Ground Zero, Mother Ship

Ch. 2: Ideas: Finding Stories in Topics and Topics in Stories
Ch. 3: Grounding Nonfiction in Human Stories
Ch. 4: Tension: Propelling Readers Forward in Nonfiction
Ch. 5: Structure: Weaving Narrative, Argument, and Information Into Seamless, Purposeful Writing
Ch. 6: Details: Showing and Telling in Nonfiction
Ch. 7: Language: Crafting Words and Sentences for Powerful Effect
Conclusion: In the Real World



“We need to re-establish the importance of story in our classrooms. Story Matters will serve as a catalyst for a shift in our thinking about the teaching of narrative.”— Kelly Gallagher, from the Foreword