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Real-Life Narratives: Finding Good Examples

The real-life narrative that students are required to read and respond to on the OSSLT isn't too different from profiles found in online and print magazines and newspapers. It's also not too different from biographies.

So, what are real-life narratives, profiles and biographies? They're people's stories. Real-life narratives:

  • are nonfiction

  • generally discuss a person's accomplishments

  • may describe important events that shaped the person who is being written about

  • may offer some "back story," or explain how a person got to where they are today

  • often contain direct quotations (but not always)

In order to become familiar with the features of real-life narratives, it helps to read a lot of them. EQAO has several examples from past tests that you can read for practice. The following examples can give you additional practice: OSSLT-specific examples

Real-world examples

You can also familiarize yourself with real-life narratives by listening to them. Out Front, produced by CBC radio, is one good example.

Questions to ask

After reading a real-life narrative, consider these questions:

  • Who is the narrative about?

  • What is this person's story? Why is their story notable?

  • Are there any direct quotations? If so, why does the author use them?

  • What is the overall message of this narrative?

  • How are real-life narratives organized? (Chronologically? By theme?)

  • How does the real-life narrative connect to what you already know? How does it change or add to what you know? What questions do you still have?