Ralph Fletcher encourages young writers to use their five senses "to capture the world around you" (p. 22). By carefully observing a subject and its surroundings or closing your eyes and 'seeing' an image in your head, you can gather details and specific ideas to include in your descriptions. Taking a snapshot of a scene, a character or an object and then describing it for the reader is a technique also used in writing narratives. Students are instructed to use their five senses when describing the setting of the story. In third grade there is a great emphasis put on the writing of multi-paragraphed narratives in preparation for the Connecticut Mastery Test, where students will have to respond to a timed prompt with a well-organized, descriptive narrative.
Many of the same skills practiced in writing poetry can be used in writing narratives. One example is the practiced use of metaphors and similes. Such use within a description adds flavor and imagery to the story and helps the reader really envision what it is you are trying to describe. The use of strong verbs in poetry is also a valuable skill to employ when writing a narrative. The whole idea of being more selective with word choice to convey your meaning is an invaluable skill that can add clarity to a narrative. In poetry we often try to express our feelings about the subject. That is also true of narrative writing, especially in the suspense and main event sections, where you describe your reactions to what it happening around you. Another similarity between writing poetry and writing narratives is that we view both as writing processes that go through many drafts before they are finished. It is not enough to simply write a poem quickly and judge its value, deciding whether to keep it or not. Poems require reworking just as narratives require upgrading.
It strikes me that teaching poetry to children will provide them with invaluable skills that they can use when writing narratives. Therefore, I have come to believe that the teaching of poetry should be an integral part of the third grade writing curriculum, pointing toward the prescribed mastery of narrative.