True Stories – PDF


True Stories guides writers through making true stories about real people and places come alive for the reader. Use it with your whole family at once.


True Stories is about writing things that really happened.  It includes biographies, autobiographies, personal narratives, and news articles.  Learn to use true themes, find a plot, write with voice, and really interrogate into the meaning of your true stories.

True Stories should take about a month to complete, give or take, and can be used with writers from emergent through adult.  You can work at your pace.  You can repeat this unit, again and again, choosing new mini-lessons, exercises, and a project each time.  You’ll also find a growing list of resources within the tabs on this page to utilize as needed.

Here’s how to use True Stories:

Step 1: Mini-Lesson

Begin each writing time with a mini-lesson, a short lesson about grammar, punctuation, word choice, writing skills, and more.  Mini-Lessons appear in sidebars on every page so there are lots to choose from.  You don’t need to do all of the mini-lessons in the unit, just pick and choose the ones that look interesting or are skills your kids need to hone!

Step 2: Exercises

All through the unit are dozens of exercises to warm your kids up to writing.  They include things like drawing and labeling a memory map of a place you’ve been to, learning to write with voice via voice messages, lots of prompts to get your memories out of your head and onto a paper, and a printable “Ups and Downs” page that prompts writers to remember the best and worst times of life. You will be spending most of your time on exercises like these that get you writing, writing, writing.

These exercises go straight into the writer’s Journal.  They are not graded and are private unless the writer wants to share them.  Spelling, grammar, and mechanics don’t matter in the journal.  This is about getting ideas down on paper!

Like the mini-lessons, you don’t need to do all the exercises.  Pick and choose the ones you like.  You’ll be coming back to this unit next year so be sure to save some good ideas for later.

Step 3: Writing Project

To finish off True Stories, each writer will choose a piece of writing from his or her Journal to take through the writing process.  That piece of writing will be expanded, corrected, revised, and then published for an audience (probably your family!) where it will get applauded.

Then Mom, Dad, or another mentor will carefully and thoughtfully evaluate the finished writing project with help from the True Stories guide.  Kids and parents will talk together about what the writer learned and what the writer can make even better.

Printable Pack

This unit comes with a Printable Pack of printables that go with exercises and sidebar mini-lessons.

Supplemental Links, Videos, & Resources

There are Pinterest boards, weblinks, and a YouTube video playlist that go with this lesson on a separate page for Writer’s Workshop.


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