We have incorporated this article around teaching story sequencing within the classroom. It provides games and activities to be used when teaching students how to put a story in the correct order. To help them provide their students with activities to help them retain this reading skill.
Story Sequencing: Where to Start
By definition, story sequencing is when students identify the components of a story by putting them in order and/or retelling the events in sequence. It is one of the many skills that contribute to reading comprehension.
When introducing your students to story sequencing, it is best to first provide them instruction on transition words. Transition words are used when a writer moves from one event to another. For example: first, then, next, and last. I like to start with a class discussion about these words and have students come up with other examples they may see when they read or write.
As you have your students complete activities and games, remember that each student is different. They read at different levels and are interested in different things. Choose texts that are not only appropriate for their reading levels but interests as well. When completing independent activities, students can use different passages that are appropriate for their own individual learning needs. Now let’s check out some fun games and activities that you can incorporate into your classroom.
How To Project
A lot of the time, students are already using transition words and sequencing without realizing it. Have your class explain to you how to do something on the board, and follow each direction exactly how they give them. This can be funny, as students aren’t always the most detailed and may skip a step or two. Reiterate to them the importance of each step in a story and assign them an individual or group project to tell someone ‘how to do something. Your class can have a lot of fun with this and you may even learn something new too!
Incorporate Other Content Areas
It is always excellent, when possible, to use students’ prior knowledge from another subject to reinforce what you are teaching. History textbooks especially, although you could use science as well, have great passages that you can pull to teach students how to sequence the events in a story. Choose a passage from the textbook and type it into a word processor using a large font and double or triple space between lines. Make sure, if they aren’t already there, you include some transition words that your students will recognize. Cut out each sentence and put all the pieces into a bag. Students will have to read each sentence carefully and put the story back into the correct order. They can paste their story onto a piece of construction paper.
Story Cards Game
Using a fiction story (which can be familiar or unfamiliar to the students… depending on how much of a challenge you would like to give them), write the events in the story on individual story cards. Each student will receive one card, and they will have to cooperate with their classmates to put the story back in order. This activity can be helpful in allowing stronger students to encourage and model the skill for students who are struggling.
Using picture cards can be helpful when teaching this skill to younger students who aren’t yet reading independently, or students with significant special needs. Choose a story that is familiar to the students or a daily life event like getting ready for school. Find or create picture cards for the event, three to five cards should be enough to teach the skill. Go over each picture with your students to be sure they know what is happening in each and model for them how to put them in the correct order. Have them practice with their own set of picture cards.
I absolutely love using graphic organizers to help students put the events of their personal writing assignments in order. The first one should have four empty boxes from top to bottom. Allow students to label each box first, then, next, and last. They will then illustrate their story in the correct order. On the next page, allow students to translate their illustrations into sentences, still being sure to include transition words. On their last page, they should be able to write a clear story in sequential order in paragraph form.
A very important concept to reading comprehension, story sequencing helps students to identify story parts. In this lesson, we examined transition words and prior knowledge. You have also been provided with five activities and games to use when introducing story sequencing to your students. How-to projects, using other content areas, story cards, picture cards, and writing projects are all excellent ways to teach your students to identify and replicate this reading skill. Remember to differentiate your instruction based on the specific learning needs of your students.