1st Edition

From Me to We Using Narrative Nonfiction to Broaden Student Perspectives

By Jason Griffith Copyright 2017
    148 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    148 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    148 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

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    With this practical book, you’ll learn effective ways to engage students in reading and writing by teaching them narrative nonfiction. By engaging adolescents in narrative, literary, or creative nonfiction, they can cultivate a greater understanding of themselves, the world around them, and what it means to feel empathy for others. This book will guide you to first structure a reading unit around a narrative nonfiction text, and then develop lessons and activities for students to craft their own personal essays. Topics include:

    • Engaging your students in the reading of a nonfiction narrative with collaborative chapter notes, empathy check-ins, and a mini-research paper to deepen students’ understanding;
    • Helping your students identify meaningful life events, recount their experiences creatively, and construct effective opening and closing lines for their personal essays;
    • Encouraging your students to use dialogue, outside research, and a clear plot structure to make their narrative nonfiction more compelling and polished.

    The strategies in this book are supplemented by examples of student work and snapshots from the author’s own classroom. The book also includes interviews with narrative nonfiction writers MK Asante and Johanna Bear. The appendices offer additional tips for using narrative nonfiction in English class, text and online resources for teaching narrative nonfiction, and a correlation chart between the activities in this book and the Common Core Standards.

    Meet the Author


    Introduction: From Me to We: Broadening Millennial Minds through Narrative Nonfiction

    Part I: Reading the Truth

    Chapter 1: Layers of Truth: The Narrative Nonfiction Spiral

    Chapter 2: Exploring the Truth: Activities for Reading Narrative Nonfiction

    Chapter 3: Sample Reading Unit: The Soloist by Steve Lopez

    Part II: Writing the Truth

    Interlude: Why Write Personal Essays? A Case for Creative Writing as Reading Assessment

    Chapter 4: Crafting the Truth: Getting Started with Personal Essays

    Chapter 5: Polishing the Truth: Digging Deeper into Personal Essays

    Chapter 6: Masters of Truth: Interviews with Narrative Nonfiction Writers


    Appendix A: 11 Tips for Teachers to Use Narrative Nonfiction in English Class

    10 Tips for Students to Write Engaging Narrative Nonfiction

    Appendix B: Narrative Nonfiction Resources

    Appendix C: Common Core Standards for Reading and Writing Narrative Nonfiction



    Jason Griffith is a National Board Certified teacher and a National Writing Project Fellow who taught middle and high school English for 12 years in Carlisle, PA. He is currently a Teaching Associate and PhD Student (English Education) at Arizona State University and an Adjunct Instructor at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.

    “True stories are the way we have always communicated—culturally, professionally, and personally—from cave drawings to computers and the Internet.  Books, blogs, dialogues, and debates all rely on the stories we tell and how effectively we tell them. This is why Jason Griffith’s book is so useful and important:  it stresses the necessity of narrative/creative nonfiction and provides teachers and their students with the theory and the craft that will help them use true stories to inform and inspire themselves and others.” –Lee Gutkind, Editor and Founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

    "From Me to We will serve as a guide for teachers and teacher educators who recognize the value of narrative nonfiction but aren’t sure how to incorporate it into their current curriculum. Jason unpacks why and how to invite narrative nonfiction reading and writing into English language arts and humanities classrooms in a compelling and friendly manner. All who read this book will realize the exciting possibilities.” –Shanetia Clark, Associate Professor of Literacy, Salisbury University, Maryland

    “Drawing on the rich tradition of student-centered pedagogy, From Me to We: Using Narrative Nonfiction to Broaden Student Perspectives makes the much-needed assertion that our secondary English curriculum has room to grow to be more responsive to our students, new standards, and trends in media and publishing. In this thoughtful debut, Jason Griffith provides a wealth of accessible strategies for using narrative nonfiction to deepen student experiences with reading and writing in heartfelt and insightful ways.” –Christopher Lehman, Founding Director of The Educator Collaborative

    “As a veteran teacher and impeccable scholar, Jason Griffith brings a wealth of experience to the table. The heart of this book resides in Griffith’s synthesis of two sides of the literacy coin, moving from critical reading to critical writing that both tells a story and invites the reader to share in the meaning-making. The whole package is here, a complete toolkit, including the key standards, grade-appropriate mentor texts, student samples, and step-by-step lesson scaffolding. All English language arts teachers should have this book in their professional libraries.“--James Blasingame, Professor of English, Arizona State University

    "From Me to We is an innovative and invaluable resource. It will help teachers integrate nonfiction reading and writing units that lead students to understand how their stories fit into the beautiful patchwork of humanity that is our world. This profoundly satisfying resource offers lessons, activities, and guidance for new and veteran teachers who are passionate about helping students find their voice. Griffith’s genuine enthusiasm for his students and devotion to his craft are woven into every page."--Monica Boone-Rice, 7th Grade English Teacher, Carlisle Area School District, Carlisle PA