EL Support Lesson

Pick Out the Parts of a Story

Use this lesson to teach your students to identify story elements and compare them to another text's story elements. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Comparing Texts by the Same Author* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Comparing Texts by the Same Author lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Comparing Texts by the Same Author lesson plan.

Students will be able to compare and contrast two stories written by the same author.


Students will be able to identify story elements in two texts with key vocabulary using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to share what comes to mind when they think about a book or a movie they know well. Allow them to talk to a partner before sharing with the whole class. Guide students to the conclusion that the characters, setting, problem, and solution come to mind. These are called the story elements and they stand out because they are the most important parts of a fictional text.
  • Go over the learning objective by reading it aloud and having students repeat it.
(8 minutes)
  • Share that today, students will be required to use the key vocabulary throughout the lesson, so it is important to learn what each word means.
  • Distribute a Glossary to each student, and call on volunteers to read aloud the definition of each word. Discuss the image associated with each word and have students turn and talk to a partner about how that image will help them remember the definition.
  • Label the empty column in the Glossary with the word Example and instruct students to do the same on their worksheets. Think aloud about examples of each story element from your favorite text. Write or draw an example for each word.
  • Ask students to think about an example of each story element in their favorite book or movie. Have them write or draw an example for each of the vocabulary words.
  • Have students share their examples with a partner before sharing with the whole class. While students share, make any comparisons and contrasts between the examples. For example, "I noticed that student A said that the setting of her story was the mountains, and so did student B."
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Story Elements in Sentences worksheet to each student, and separate the class into four groups.
  • Read aloud the information and the example at the top of the worksheet. Point out that the first blank in the sentence frame is filled with one of the key vocabulary terms and the rest of the sentence frame is completed with information from the given sentence.
  • Model completing the first sentence frame for the class. Then, invite the students to participate in completing the second sentence frame with you.
  • Instruct small groups to complete the rest of the sentence frames with a key vocabulary word and the information from the given sentences.
  • Go over the answers by calling on nonvolunteers to read aloud the sentences they created.
(12 minutes)
  • Explain to the class that they are going to now read two passages and sort information about the story elements into four categories based on the key vocabulary for the lesson.
  • Distribute a copy of the worksheet Sort the Story Elements and have a student review the definitions of each of the key vocabulary terms.
  • Read aloud the texts to the class, and instruct students to listen for the characters, setting, problem, and solution.
  • Guide the class through sorting a few underlined words and phrases into the chart. Then, have students work together in partners to sort the rest. Go over it as a class before going to the "Think About It!" question at the end.
  • Tell the class that the question is challenging them to think about how the stories are related, which is an important reading skill. Good readers look for how stories are the same and different.
  • Allow students to work in partners to record their answer on the sentence frame. Call on a nonvolunteer to share the answer with the class.
  • Ask the class to think about where in the story each of those story elements is introduced. For example, the characters, setting, and problem are usually introduced at the beginning of the story, while the solution comes at the end.
  • Explain that stories typically follow the same pattern when it comes to these foundational story elements.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a sentence stem for students to use during the Word Level portion of the lesson. For example, "The image will help me remember the word because ____."


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student a blank sheet of paper and have them fold it so that it creates four equal sized squares. Have them write one key vocabulary word in each of the squares.
  • Tell students that you will give them 30 seconds per square. In each square, they will write words or draw images that connect to the key vocabulary word. When the timer goes off, they will go to the next square. This task will take a total of two minutes.
(3 minutes)
  • Go over the assessment task by having students talk to partners, and then the whole group, about what words and images they included in each square.
  • Remind learners that the most important parts of a story include the characters, setting, problem, and solution. When we identify and discuss these story elements, we are better able to understand what we read.

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