Your True Stories in 100 Words

Hi Friends,

Getting our students to write is a continual challenge.  Students are daunted by writing essays, grammar rules, and past failures.  Just like math anxiety, many of our students also have a fear of writing.  I am always looking for ways to get students to write.

A famous national publication runs a feature called Your True Stories in 100 Words.  I love this idea as 100 words is not so intimidating, but it is long enough to give our students some much-needed writing practice. 

I always like to model writing so students have an idea of what to expect.  Here is Steve’s true story in 100 words:

“I am staring out the car’s passenger side window holding back tears.  My daughter sits in the driver’s seat trying to calm herself as she learns to drive.  She jokes that she knows just when to brake when she sees me press my foot into the unresponsive floorboard.  I scold her for driving too fast, but maybe it is really her life itself that I want to slow down.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I changed her diapers, walked miles around the living room comforting her cries, and helped her blow out the candles on her first birthday cake?”

What are some techniques you use to get your students’ writing?

Please share your true story in 100 words!


Thanks in advance for your comments and stories,

Steve Schmidt, Moderator

LINCS Reading and Writing Community


Years after I had moved from my parents’ home in Detroit, I returned there to attend a large social event with them. At the event I recognized my childhood dentist, who was then in his seventies. I introduced myself, mentioning whose son I was, and explained that he had been my dentist. “Open your mouth,” he said. I slowly complied. “Wider please,” he said, as he took out a pocket flashlight to carefully examine my teeth. After a minute, he put the flashlight away, told me I could close my mouth, and proudly proclaimed, “I did a pretty good job!”

100 words: My true story

My son graduated high school in 2011. Not a tear was shed. He chose the Army after high school. The day we dropped him off for Boot Camp, not a tear was shed. Then, his father and I watched proudly as he and his fellow soldiers said the Soldier's Creed at his basic training graduation and tears flowed that day. My daughter moved into her college dorm in 2015. Not a tear was shed. Her father and I stood with her as she was pinned and joined the nursing profession and tears flowed that day. I love the days that I cry.

How does this help guide students in writing? I needed to decide what I wanted to say, be conisice in my writing, and edit to get itto the right number of words. To begin writing, we need to focus on the topics we know about. Once writing is not so intimidating, we can expand on our topics. 

Thanks Steve for starting this example. 


I remember those short Reader's Digest stories! I looked forward to them in every issue. This is a wonderful idea for integrating reading and writing skills with adults. Here's my attempt to keep it to 100 words (short and sweet):

In mid-March of 2020, both of my adult children lost their jobs. My daughter was furloughed from a retail position and my son was laid off as a reliability engineer. My daughter returned to work in late May, but my son is still struggling to find another job in the airline/aerospace industries – both hit hard by the pandemic. As a Boomer, their experiences are unknown to me; however, I have grown to admire their courage and resiliency during these unprecedented times. Lately, I have come to realize our country’s future is in the capable hands of the younger generations.

Marn Frank

Hi Marn,

Thanks so much for your submission!  I count 99 words.  Your true story is very impressive and so well written!  I do hope your son finds work soon. 

Speaking of employment, I love the Georgetown Center on Education and the WorkforceIt has a host of stats and readings related to education and employment which our higher level students might use to practice reading in the social studies and science content areas.  They posted some interesting stats about tracking COVID-19 unemployment.  

A non-surprising stat: Those with a high school education or less have had the highest unemployment and most job losses.

A surprising stat for me: The number of jobs lost in education by those with a bachelor's degree or higher.

I would love to see some more 100 words or less submissions!

Thanks again,

Steve Schmidt, Moderator

LINCS Reading and Writing Community