Lesson plan

Sequencing the Order of Events

The sequence of events help readers recount the most important parts of the story in order. Use this lesson with your students to read fables and a classic picture book as you practice recounting the sequence of events.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to recount the sequence of events in a fiction text.
(2 minutes)
  • Give students an example of a common classroom procedure, such as morning arrival or going out for recess.
  • Ask students to help you record the steps in the process.
  • Record the steps on the board or the document camera, and explain to students that they just gave you a sequence of events of a common daily procedure.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that today, they will be recounting a sequence of events from literature using a graphic organizer. Sequence is the order in which things happen.
  • Prompt students to think about the importance of sequence of events in a story, and explain that, without it, a story would be very confusing to the reader. It would feel disconnected, and the events would not make sense.
  • Display a short text, such as The Ant and the Grasshopper, on the document camera. Use the Timeline Organizer worksheet to record information.
  • Model identifying and recording the sequence of events. Show how the text supports your answers in the graphic organizer by going back to underline or highlight them in the story. Write numbers next to the events in the story to provide a clear visual for students.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Timeline Organizer to each student. Explain to them that they will listen to a read-aloud and can jot notes down throughout it if they choose. After the read-aloud, they will get into groups to record the correct sequence of events on the graphic organizer.
  • Read aloud The Great Kapok Tree. Point out instances where order words in the text signal a sequence of events.
  • Divide students into groups to complete the graphic organizer, and circulate as they discuss and record the sequence of events.
  • Go over the sequence of events, including only the most important events, as a class, and create a master copy of the Timeline Organizer based on the student responses.
  • Go back to the book to model that using the text proves that the sequence is correct. Call on non-volunteers to show text evidence as they offer answers.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student another copy of the Timeline Organizer and a copy of the Making Predictions: The Lion and the Mouse worksheet. (Note: They will not need the questions section of the worksheet.)
  • Instruct students to read the fable and complete the Timeline Organizer with the correct sequence of events.
  • Circulate and monitor students.


  • Give advanced students longer texts with the challenge of picking out the four most important events to put in sequential order.
  • Provide enrichment for students by having them write a paragraph that retells the story. Remind them to use transition words contained in the graphic organizer.
  • Have students incorporate cause and effect reasoning with the sequence of events activity. Ask, “What caused that event to happen? What are the effects of this event?”


  • Give students who are struggling different color highlighters to use to pick out the four major events before they write on their Timeline Organizer.
  • Allow reluctant writers to simply highlight and number the events in the text, without writing them in their own words on the graphic organizer.
  • Pick out the four major events and have them written on index cards for students to read and manipulate as they decide the sequence of events.
(3 minutes)
  • Put students into A-B partnerships and have them read aloud their graphic organizers to each other. Instruct them to put a checkmark or a star next to the events that they agree are correct on the graphic organizer.
  • Circulate during the discussion, listening for students’ explanations of the correct sequence of events.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the process for identifying the sequence of events in literature.
  • Engage the class in creating a sequential list of four things a reader needs to do in order to complete the Timeline Organizer.

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