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Making the Grade: Evaluating a Narrative Paragraph


Making the Grade: Evaluating a Narrative Paragraph

The purpose of narrative writing is to show readers what happened at a particular time and place. A narrative is a story--a real or an imagined event--that relies on specific details to answer the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who was involved?
  • How did the event begin?
  • What was the outcome of the event?
Read this example of a narrative paragraph, "Making the Grade," and then respond to the questions that follow it.

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Making the Grade

My parents were always telling me to raise my grades, but they would never tell me how. After getting one bad report card after another, I knew I had to do something drastic. When my December card arrived with three Cs, two Ds, and an F, I was afraid to show it to my mother. That's when I came up with the brilliant idea of changing the F to an A. It was really quite simple just to give the F another leg. I was in the third grade at the time. When I showed the card to my mother, she was very excited to see the one good grade. She gave me a hug and a kiss and, best of all, a bigger allowance. Everyone was happy in my house until two nights later when the phone rang. My mother answered it, listened, and then looked at me with blood in her eyes. She told me that there were some things much worse than failing, and that cheating was one of them. I tried to argue. I said that she was the one who had told me to change my grades. That made her really angry, and she said that I knew that's not what she meant. Then she gave me a whupping and took away my allowance for a month. Since then, I have learned to make the grade, not change it on the card.

Evaluation Questions:

  1. One sentence in "Making the Grade" seems to interrupt the story. Identify that sentence and suggest a more appropriate place for it in the paragraph.

  2. Create a topic sentence for this paragraph--one that clearly prepares the reader for what follows.

  3. (a) Where in this paragraph do you think the addition of dialogue (direct quotations) might be effective?
    (b) Rewrite part of the paragraph using dialogue to dramatize an important conversation.

For suggested responses to these questions, go to page two.

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