Recent years have seen an emerging interest in narrative-centered learning, ushering in a wave of research on adaptive story-based systems for education and training. Among the aims of current narrative-centered learning work is the creation of environments that draw students into the story while simultaneously satisfying pedagogical goals in an enjoyable, motivating, and effective manner. In this paper, we seek to characterize this interaction by introducing the notion of narrative presence and grounding the discussion in research on presence conducted in the human factors and virtual reality communities. Contributing factors to narrative presence are discussed in the context of CRYSTAL ISLAND, a testbed narrative-centered learning environment. Methods for subjective and objective evaluation of narrative presence are introduced and reviewed. Finally, the design implications of narrative presence for interactive narrative-centered learning environments are considered.