Lesson plan

Story Structure Rollercoaster

Reading can be a rollercoaster with its ups and downs! Use this lesson that features a rollercoaster-themed story map to teach your students about story structure and how to use a graphic organizer to visualize it.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to identify the elements of a fiction story using a story map graphic organizer.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to discuss what the beginning, middle, and end of the day will look like in the classroom.
  • Read aloud the student objective and have students repeat it. Inform them that today’s lesson will be about identifying the story elements in a fiction story using a graphic organizer.
(15 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the Story Rollercoaster worksheet and explain that you will read aloud a picture book and model how to fill out the graphic organizer. Make a connection between riding a rollercoaster and reading a book, such as: "When you ride a rollercoaster, it starts out slow and simple, and when you go up and you’re at the highest point, it’s really exciting. As you go down to the end of the rollercoaster, the ride is wrapping up and it is over. This is like a book because the beginning of the book introduces the story, and it gets really exciting in the middle when all the action is. The story slows down at the end when the problem is solved."
  • Share definitions for key terms by pointing out where that information is recorded on the worksheet. The characters are the important people, animals, or creatures the story is about. The setting is where and when the story takes place. In a story, characters come across a problem that they need to solve. The problem is something the characters have to deal with and fix. The solution is reached when they have solved the problem.
  • Point out the labels on the rollercoaster: Beginning, Middle, and End. Explain that a story can be broken into sections. Certain story elements are introduced or present in each section.
  • Read aloud a fiction picture book, such as Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. Model completing the story map by pointing to the text evidence in the picture book that answers each question on the graphic organizer.
  • Explain that the completed graphic organizer serves as a visual of the story, highlighting the important story elements.
(15 minutes)
  • Divide students into groups of three to four students. Give each student a copy of the Story Rollercoaster worksheet.
  • Give each group a copy of a fiction picture book to read while completing the graphic organizer together. Remind groups to go back to the book to find text evidence that answers each of the story map questions.
  • Circulate and provide feedback to groups.
  • Have students present their graphic organizers to the rest of the class. Instruct students to explain the information on the story map, using key terms reviewed earlier in the lesson.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Story Rollercoaster worksheet and the Sugar and Spice text to each student.
  • Instruct the class to read the story and complete the Story Rollercoaster. Remind them to go back to the text to find the evidence that answers the questions on the graphic organizer.


  • Give advanced students a more challenging text with a more complicated plot. Encourage them to pick out the main problem and note the smaller problems that exist in the story.
  • Have them complete as many Story Rollercoaster worksheets as needed for the more challenging text.


  • Create a word wall with the key terms, including visuals.
  • Provide sentence stems for student use as they discuss each section of the graphic organizer:
    • The story takes place ____.
    • The main characters are ____.
    • The problem at the beginning is ____.
    • It is a problem because ____.
    • The problem is solved at the end when/by ____.
(10 minutes)
  • Utilize the group presentations as a formative assessment of students’ understanding of the story elements and proper use of a graphic organizer. Look for students’ use of the academic key terms in their explanations, as well as information that appropriately answers the question in each box.
  • Collect the independent practice to serve as a formative assessment.
  • Give each student a copy of the Story Rollercoaster worksheet to serve as an exit ticket. Remind students that they discussed the beginning, middle, and end of a school day. Challenge them to complete the graphic organizer based on a day at school in which a problem arose.
(2 minutes)
  • Go over some of the Story Rollercoaster worksheet exit tickets by asking students to share with the whole group. Point out the places in which students accurately recorded information in the graphic organizer.

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