EL Support Lesson

Using the 5 W's

This lesson will provide your ELs with support as they learn about nouns and practice retelling a story with a 5 W's graphic organizer. This lesson can be used as a stand alone activity or a support lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What Happened? lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What Happened? lesson plan.

Students will be able to retell a story.


Students will be able to retell a story with nouns using a 5 W's graphic organizer.

(5 minutes)
  • Activate prior knowledge by displaying a photograph of children playing at the beach, in the woods, or at the playground.
  • Project the Star Story Organizer worksheet on the board.
  • Ask students to offer ideas about whats going on in the picture. Use active questioning (5 W's) and record their ideas on the Star Story Organizer.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be reading a story and figuring out what is happening in the story, using the 5 W's.
(7 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that they will learn new vocabulary before they read the story. Reiterate that learning words from the story will help them understand, or comprehend, the story better.
  • Pass out the Vocabulary Cards worksheet and have students help you read the student friendly definitions.
  • Ask students if they can figure out what all the words have in common.
  • Allow a few students to offer their ideas.
  • Clarify that the words on their vocabulary cards are all nouns. Ask students if they can help you remember what a noun is.
  • Call on a few volunteers to offer ideas. Clarify any misconceptions and reiterate that a noun is a person, place, or thing.
  • Group students in pairs and pass out whiteboards and markers. Give students a few minutes to generate as many nouns as they can. Call on students to offer their responses.
(10 minutes)
  • Put students in small groups, pass out whiteboards and markers, and have them create sentences for each new vocabulary word.
  • Provide the following sentence stems on the board:
    • A bear is a(n) ____ with ____.
    • The woods are filled with ____ and ____.
    • A nest is for ____.
    • Birds have ____ and can ____.
  • Allow a minute or two for students to orally share their sentences with the class.
  • Ask students to make a prediction about what the story will be about, based on their vocabulary words and definitions.
  • Write the following sentence stem on the board to support students as they share out:
    • I predict the story is about ____ because _____.
(10 minutes)
  • Keep students in their small groups and pass out the And Then What Happened? worksheet to each student.
  • Read the story aloud to the class. Circle the vocabulary words and give students a chance to find other examples of nouns in the text.
  • Have students do a brief think-pair-share, explaining to a partner if their prediction was correct about the story.
  • Write the following questions on the board:
    • Who are the characters in the story?
    • What is happening in the story?
    • Where does the story take place?
    • When does the story take place?
    • Why was the ____ crying?
  • Read the questions aloud and explain that using the 5 W's can help us understand what we read, just like it helped us understand what was happening in the picture in the beginning of the lesson.
  • Explain that good readers take the time to understand what they read.
  • Put the students in pairs and ask them to read the story again and ask each other and answer the questions on the whiteboard with their partners.
  • Have a student read the questions on the bottom of the And Then What Happened worksheet and encourage a few students share their answers orally.


  • Provide beginning ELs with home language support and instructions.
  • Pair beginning ELs with sympathetic non-ELs.
  • Encourage ELs to use visuals of the vocabulary and sentence stems in their discussions.


  • Ask students to write a short summarizing paragraph about the story on the back of their 5 W's graphic organizer during the discourse activity. Encourage students to use transition words (ie. first, next, then, last).
  • Encourage students to think of at least 2–3 ways the 5 W's graphic organizer supports them in understanding the stories they read.
  • Challenge students to circle all the nouns on their the Star Story Organizer in red.
(4 minutes)
  • Ask students to go back to their seats and have the students fill out the Star Story Organizer worksheet independently.
  • Encourage the students to refer to their vocabulary cards for support.
  • Walk around the room and support students as necessary.
(4 minutes)
  • Have the students scramble around the room (bringing their Story Story Organizer). When you say, "Ready, set, go!" have students find a partner. Next, ask the students to retell the story, using their graphic organizer for support.
  • Observe students and jot down notes about their understanding of the story. Use your notes to plan future lessons on using the 5 W's to support comprehension.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items