Learn the Genre “Narrative” for PSLE English Composition Writing

How to learn the Genre “Narrative” for PSLE English Examinations Composition Writing

In the realm of the PSLE English Examinations, mastering the art of composition writing is a pivotal skill. Achieving an AL1 – the highest grade possible – is no small feat, requiring consistent practice, a robust vocabulary, and an adept understanding of various writing genres. This article aims to guide parents in facilitating their child’s journey towards AL1, specifically focusing on narrative writing within the English Composition section of the PSLE.

Narrative writing is essentially storytelling. It is an integral genre in English composition, allowing students to flex their creative muscles while honing their language skills. To excel in narrative writing, and by extension, the PSLE English Composition exam, students must cultivate a robust vocabulary, an understanding of narrative structures, and an ability to express their thoughts creatively and effectively.

A rich vocabulary is more than just the accumulation of words. It encompasses an understanding of word meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and appropriate usage. Regular vocabulary-building activities, such as maintaining a vocabulary notebook, using flashcards, and engaging in online vocabulary games, can go a long way in fostering vocabulary retention and growth.

Reading broadly is another cornerstone for success in composition writing. Exposure to different genres, authors, and writing styles can stimulate imagination and provide a rich source of ideas for compositions. Reading widely can also help students familiarize themselves with different narrative structures and ways of expression, enhancing their comprehension and application skills in the process.

The importance of regular writing practice cannot be overstated. Writing is a continuous process, with each attempt bringing with it new learning experiences and opportunities for improvement. Regular practice helps students refine their writing skills, experiment with different narrative structures, and develop a unique writing style.

Moreover, creativity plays a critical role in narrative writing. Encouraging original thinking and using visual prompts can stimulate creativity, helping students come up with unique and engaging narratives.

Lastly, constructive feedback is a vital part of learning. By providing targeted feedback on your child’s compositions, you can help them identify their strengths and areas for improvement. However, it’s important to remember to provide feedback in a way that encourages growth and nurtures their love for writing.

Achieving AL1 in the PSLE English Examinations is a journey that requires effort, persistence, and the right strategies. As a parent, your support and involvement can significantly contribute to your child’s success. Let’s delve into how these strategies can be implemented effectively to aid your child in their PSLE English Composition writing.

In the context of the PSLE English Examinations, understanding the genre of “Narrative” for composition writing is crucial. Narrative writing is a genre that centers around telling a story. This can be a personal experience, a fictional tale, or even a historical event. The primary goal is to engage the reader by developing characters, setting up a plot, and providing a compelling resolution.

Types of Genres to prepare for the PSLE English Composition Paper 1 Section:

DescriptiveThis genre involves painting a picture with words. Students describe a person, place, thing, or event in detail, using vivid adjectives and figurative language.
NarrativeIn this genre, students tell a story. It involves characters, a setting, a problem, and a resolution. The story usually follows a chronological order.
ExpositoryThis genre is all about explaining or informing. Students present information clearly and logically, using facts and examples to support their ideas.
ArgumentativeIn this genre, students present an argument on a specific topic. They must use logical reasoning and evidence to support their viewpoint and convince the reader.
PersuasiveSimilar to argumentative writing, this genre aims to persuade the reader to accept a particular viewpoint or to take a specific action. It uses emotive language and rhetorical questions, alongside logical reasoning and evidence.
RecountThis genre involves retelling an event or experience in chronological order. It includes specific details to make the recount interesting and engaging.
ReflectiveIn this genre, students share personal reflections on an experience or event. They delve into their feelings, thoughts, and learning from the experience.

Note: The most common genres that appear in PSLE English Composition Paper 1 are the narrative and reflective genres, but it’s good to be familiar with all types to have a comprehensive understanding of different writing styles.

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Explaining the Narrative Genre

A narrative is more than just a simple story. It’s a tool that allows the writer to convey a meaningful message or moral lesson through an engaging, thought-provoking plot. It’s important to note that narrative writing is not confined to novels and short stories; it’s a powerful tool used across multiple mediums, including plays, movies, and even video games.

Learn all these words with our Vocabulary Lists.

At its core, narrative writing is characterized by the presence of certain elements:

  1. Characters: These are the individuals in the story. Characters can be people, animals, or even inanimate objects.
  2. Setting: This is the location and time where the story takes place.
  3. Plot: This is the sequence of events that make up the story. It typically includes an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  4. Conflict: This is the problem or challenge that the main character(s) must overcome.
  5. Theme: This is the central idea or underlying message of the story.

Example of Narrative Writing

Consider this brief example:

“Once upon a time, in a quiet village nestled between rolling hills, lived a young girl named Mia. Every day, she would make her way to the nearby forest, enchanted by its beauty and mystery. One day, while exploring deeper into the woods, she stumbled upon an ancient, hidden cave. Inside it was a magical stone that granted her the ability to speak to animals. With her newfound ability, Mia helped resolve disputes among the forest creatures, fostering peace and harmony. The villagers soon learned of her unique talent and treated the forest with newfound respect.”

In this story, Mia is the main character, the quiet village and the forest are the settings, the plot involves Mia finding the magical stone and resolving disputes, and the theme could be the importance of communication and respect for nature.

Mastering Narrative Writing in PSLE English Composition

  1. Planning: Before starting to write, it’s essential to plan your narrative. Identify the characters, the setting, the conflict, and how it will be resolved.
  2. Engaging Introduction: Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention. It could be a thought-provoking question, a statement, or a vivid description of the setting or characters.
  3. Develop Characters: Provide enough details about your characters to make them feel real. Show their personality through their actions, dialogues, and thoughts.
  4. Detailed Descriptions: Use descriptive language to make your story more vivid. Describe the setting, characters, and events in detail to help the reader visualize the story.
  5. Show, Don’t Tell: Instead of telling your reader what’s happening, show it through your characters’ actions, feelings, and dialogues.
  6. Conflict and Resolution: Introduce a problem or conflict that the characters need to resolve. The resolution should tie up all loose ends and provide a satisfying conclusion to the story.
  7. Revise and Edit: Finally, always revise and edit your work. Check for spelling and grammar errors, awkward sentences, and ensure that the story flows smoothly.

Understanding and mastering narrative writing can significantly boost a student’s performance in the PSLE English Composition exam. Not only does it help in scoring high marks, but it also improves their overall language proficiency, creative expression, and communication skills.

Deep Dive into How to setup a Narrative Composition for PSLE English

Narrative writing, a significant component of the PSLE English Exams, is a versatile genre that requires the weaving together of words to create a vivid story that engages the reader’s imagination. To master narrative writing, it’s crucial to understand its fundamental aspects: setting, character, conflict, climax, and resolution. In narrative writing, we take the reader on a journey, allowing them to experience the world through the perspective of our characters. Let’s look at how we can effectively use narrative writing through examples.

Setting the Scene

The setting establishes the time, place, and mood of your story. It’s the backdrop against which your characters interact and your plot unfolds. For instance:

“In the heart of a bustling city that never sleeps, there was a quaint little bookstore. Tucked away in a quiet corner, it was a haven for book lovers, a place where time seemed to stand still.”

This description sets up an intriguing contrast between the lively city and the tranquil bookstore, immediately drawing the reader into the story.

Developing Characters

Characters drive the plot and engage the reader’s emotions. They can be described directly, through their physical attributes and personality traits, or indirectly, through their actions, thoughts, and speech. For instance, consider this character description:

“Mr. Tan was a tall, lanky man with a perpetual frown etched onto his face. His hair was a disheveled mess, often matching his chaotic classroom. Despite his stern exterior, he had a soft spot for his students, often staying back after school to give extra lessons.”

In this example, the character’s appearance, behavior, and internal qualities are described, painting a detailed picture of Mr. Tan.

Building Conflict

Conflict is the challenge or problem that the protagonist must overcome. It’s what keeps the reader hooked, eager to find out what happens next. Consider this example:

“Despite her parents’ disapproval, Lily was determined to pursue her passion for dance. She knew that the road ahead was fraught with challenges, but she was not one to back down.”

This sets up a conflict between Lily’s passion and her parents’ wishes, making the reader curious about how she’ll resolve it.

Crafting the Climax

The climax is the turning point, the most intense part of the story. It’s the moment when the conflict reaches its peak. For instance:

“The music blared, the spotlight was on her, and the audience waited with bated breath. Lily took a deep breath, pushed her fears aside, and started to dance.”

Here, the climax builds on the conflict set up earlier. The reader is pulled into the intense moment when Lily starts to dance despite the odds.

Providing a Resolution

The resolution ties up the loose ends of the story. It’s the part where the conflict is resolved and the story concludes. For example:

“Exhausted but exhilarated, Lily finished her dance to thunderous applause. Later that night, her parents, moved by her performance, promised to support her passion.”

This resolution provides a satisfying end to the story, resolving the conflict between Lily and her parents.

Applying Narrative Writing

To effectively use narrative writing, follow these steps:

  1. Brainstorm: Before you start writing, brainstorm your setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution.
  2. Draft: Write your story, making sure to include all the key elements of narrative writing. Don’t worry about getting it perfect in the first draft.
  3. Revise: Read through your story and make changes as needed. Improve descriptions, clarify the plot, and enhance character development.
  4. Edit: Check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other technical errors.
  5. Get Feedback: Have someone else read your story and provide feedback.
  6. Revise Again: Use the feedback you received to revise your story further. This could mean clarifying certain parts, developing your characters more, or enhancing the plot.
  7. Polish: Read through your story again, looking for any final adjustments you can make to improve it. This could be varying your sentence structure, replacing weak verbs with stronger ones, or ensuring your dialogue sounds natural.

Let’s look at these steps in practice:


You might come up with a basic plot like: “A student who is always late for school learns the importance of punctuality when he misses a crucial exam.”


Start writing your story, keeping in mind the key elements of narrative writing. You might start with: “Andy was notorious for his tardiness. No matter how many alarms he set or how early he went to bed, he always found himself rushing to school, often just as the bell rang…”


After you finish your first draft, read through your story. You might realize that you need to develop your characters more or that your climax could be more intense. You could change the story to: “Andy, known for his relaxed nature, was always the last one to arrive at school…”


Once you’re satisfied with your story, look for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Make sure your sentences are clear and concise and that you’re using the right tense consistently.

Get Feedback

Have a teacher, parent, or friend read your story and provide feedback. They might point out parts that are confusing or suggest ways to make your story more engaging.

Revise Again

Take the feedback into account and revise your story accordingly. You might add more detail to certain parts or change the ending to make it more satisfying.


Make any final adjustments to your story. This could be ensuring your dialogue sounds natural or adding more descriptive language to make your setting more vivid.

Through this process, your narrative writing will become more engaging and effective. Remember, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. So keep writing, keep revising, and keep polishing. Before long, you’ll be crafting narratives that captivate your readers – and impress your PSLE English Exams markers.


The art of narrative writing is a critical component of the PSLE English Examinations. The ability to effectively use narrative writing techniques can be a significant factor in achieving an AL1 grade. This journey of writing doesn’t solely rely on your child’s skills, but also on the strategies you as a parent incorporate to support their learning and growth.

Firstly, it is essential to recognize that the narrative genre is one of the foundational writing styles in the English language. It involves crafting a story with engaging characters, a compelling plot, and a resolution that leaves a lasting impression. Your child’s adeptness in this style of writing not only enhances their ability to perform in the PSLE English Composition section but also enriches their overall language proficiency.

One of the keys to mastering narrative writing lies in a robust vocabulary. This does not merely mean knowing many words but understanding their nuances, synonyms, antonyms, and appropriate usage in different contexts. Regular practice in vocabulary building, whether through the use of vocabulary notebooks, flashcards, or online games, will help your child express their ideas more accurately and creatively.

Broad reading is another crucial aspect of effective narrative writing. By exposing your child to various genres and authors, you expand their understanding of different narrative structures and writing styles, which can inspire them in their writing.

Encouraging regular practice in writing is also paramount. Writing is a continuous process, and like any skill, it improves with practice. Regular writing not only hones your child’s language proficiency but also enables them to experiment with different narrative ideas, thereby enhancing their creative expression.

Using visual prompts can also be a useful tool to stimulate your child’s creativity. Visual stimuli can inspire unique ideas and provide a launching pad for their narrative compositions. Encouraging original thinking can take their narratives from being ordinary to extraordinary.

Providing constructive feedback is another crucial aspect of improving your child’s narrative writing. Remember to focus on both strengths and areas for improvement. This feedback, coupled with your continuous support and encouragement, can boost their confidence and motivate them to strive for better.

In essence, to attain AL1 in the PSLE English Examinations, your child needs to be well-versed in narrative writing. This involves a comprehensive understanding of the narrative structure, a robust vocabulary, and a willingness to experiment with different writing styles. As a parent, your involvement, support, and guidance can make a significant difference in their journey towards mastering narrative writing and achieving success in their PSLE English Composition Writing. With perseverance, patience, and practice, AL1 is within their grasp.

Learn more about PSLE Composition Writing with our Creative Writing articles here:

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