Lesson plan

Fiction Comprehension: Problem and Solution

If you've ever had something go wrong, you know how it feels to search for a solution! Use this lesson to teach your students to identify problems and solutions in fictional text.
EL Adjustments
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Students will be able to identify the problem and solution in a fictional text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Initiate a conversation with the class about a problem that you're having at either home or school. For example, your dog gets into the garbage when you aren't home and makes a mess. Ask them to help you problem-solve.
  • Invite students to share their ideas and tell them which solutions you have tried.
  • Share that you brought up this issue and asked for suggestions for how to fix it because it is warming up our brains for today's lesson.
  • Read aloud the learning objective and have students put it into their own words to a partner.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the class that they'll be looking for problems and solutions in fiction text. Explain that a problem is something the character wants to figure out, change, or fix. A solution is the way a problem is solved or fixed.
  • Give each student two sticky notes and display the chart papers labeled with Problem and Solution. Model writing the problem and solution from the Introduction on two sticky notes and placing them on the appropriate papers.
  • Instruct learners to write down a problem on one sticky note and a solution on the other. They can choose this information from either a book or their own lives. Then, have them put the sticky note on the appropriate piece of chart paper.
  • Read through some example problems and solutions from the sticky notes. Pick out one example, and list a few ways that you can imagine how they tried to solve the problem. Explain that each time we try to solve a problem or try to do something, it is called an attempt. In stories, characters often try many things to solve a problem. That's what makes a story interesting.
  • Display a copy of the Problem & Solution Organizer worksheet and write the title of a familiar story from a recently read picture book or a famous fairy tale. Model writing a sentence about the problem and the solution in the graphic organizer.
(25 minutes)
  • Read aloud a book with a clear problem and solution, such as Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. Stop periodically to allow students to discuss any problems that arise throughout the story. Record a problem on the graphic organizer, and continue reading the book. Allow students to talk in partners about the solution. Record the solution on the graphic organizer.
  • Divide the class into small groups of three to four students, distribute a copy of the Problem & Solution Organizer worksheet to each student, and give each group a picture book with a clear problem and solution (see Suggested Media).
  • Instruct groups to read the picture book together and fill out the first section of the graphic organizer with the book title, problem, and solution.
  • Circulate while groups work and ask prompting questions as needed.
(15 minutes)
  • Rotate the books so that each group receives a new picture book. Instruct groups to read the book aloud together, but not to discuss it.
  • Direct the students to independently complete the middle portion of the graphic organizer with the book title, problem, and solution.


  • Have advanced learners read a longer book with a more challenging plot that has several problems and solutions. Instruct students to keep track of these, including the attempts at solving the problems. Have them keep track of how the plot is all connected and create a visual representation.


  • Provide a simpler text for struggling readers. Allow them to work in a small, teacher-led group to identify the problem and solution during Guided Practice.
(3 minutes)
  • Display the short passage on the Part 1: Finding the Problem and Solution with Question Words worksheet.
  • Read it aloud to the class, and instruct them to complete the last section of their Problem & Solution Graphic Organizer worksheet with the information from this passage.
(2 minutes)
  • Engage the class in a discussion about the problem and solution from the formative assessment.
  • Ask, "What was the problem? What was the solution? What were the attempts in the story?"
  • Remind students that the problem and solution in a story is an important part of the plot that keeps it interesting. Otherwise, a story is boring! It's up to us to pay attention to the problem, solution, and the attempts to solve the problem so that we can understand the story better.

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