Interactive Games for Narrative Writing

Two college aged girls are writing together.
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Students love reading stories and retelling their favorite tales. Narrative writing games will help students transition from sharing stories orally to writing their own narrative papers. Narrative games like anecdotal bingo, story pass and roll-a-story provide students with inspiration for original narratives. Online narrative games are also available to teach students the fundamentals of storytelling and provide structure for narrative assignments.

1 Anecdotal Bingo

In this game, students try to get bingo by brainstorming a variety of experiences that could later be drafted into longer narrative pieces. Take a blank bingo board and fill it with discussion starters, such as: "My most embarrassing moment was ...." or "The thing that shocked me the most was ...." If you're having trouble brainstorming topics, educator Corbett Harrison offers several of his notebook bingo boards for free at

Students must get bingo by completing and sharing experiences on the board. As a variation, if students have similar experiences on their board, they can add these stories during the game and then mark them for a bingo. The game will motivate students to brainstorm, share and make connections with their classmates. After they play bingo, students can select their favorite experiences to help them write a longer narrative piece, using writing techniques learned in class.

2 Roll-a-Story

If your students are struggling to find inspiration, use a dice-based game to assign them a character, setting and problem. Create your own chart of possibilities to transform this game into more personal writing, or use the free Roll-A-Story template created by educator Jordan Reads. Students take turns rolling the dice to get their assigned story inspirations. As a variation, have students work on the narrative assignment in groups, combining their ideas before completing a second story independently.

3 Pass the Story

In this game, students work together to create stories of interest. Give students a scenario for a story, which can relate to the narrative writing assignment you would like the students to later complete. Ask each student to contribute one word to the story to see if they can create sentences and make a story flow. As students begin to master narrative elements, ask each to contribute a sentence to the overall story, focusing on creating a narrative that either advances the action or reveals the character. After playing this game as a class, students can work in small groups to draft a narrative with a different prompt. Folding Story offers an online story-passing experience for students working in distance settings. Pass-the-story games help students build their confidence in narrative elements.

4 Online Narrative Games

Several technology-based games can help students create narrative writing. Students can work on these games independently and acquire storytelling skills in a highly motivational environment. For younger students, Scholastic offers a collection of free online writing games. Many of the games, such as A Dog's Life, offer story-building scenarios, story starter sentences and pictures to help guide students in creating an original narration. This online game works well with younger students developing narrative skills. For older students, use a digital storytelling site like Storybird. This website offers a variety of art to inspire students to write original narration. Students can also print their creations and develop their work into larger pieces of fiction.

Based in Winchester, Va., Karen Hartless has 10 years of teaching experience in the areas of English, creative writing and public speaking. She earned a Master of Education degree as a reading specialist from Shenandoah University, focusing on teaching, reading, and writing clear, concise text.