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Reintroduce: Story Elements

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Lesson Type: Reintroduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given a book, students will be able to identify its characters, setting, and plot.

Materials: A fiction book to read out loud, chart paper or board, copies of the Story Map (print here) for each student

What to Do


Choose a book that appeals to early readers. Make copies of the Story Map for each student. Make a large version of the Story Map on the board or chart paper.


1. Review the meaning of the story elements (character, setting, and plot).

Who can remember what story elements are? What is character? What is setting? What is plot?

2. Record students’ answers on the chart paper or board and clarify the terms as necessary.

Story elements are what make up the story. Without these things, there would be no story. Characters are the people in the book. Setting is where the story takes place. Plot is what happens in the book. There is usually a problem and a solution.

3. Explain why focusing on story elements is useful to readers.

Good readers are able to identify the story elements. They can use the story elements to talk about the book. Knowing the characters, setting, and plot helps us to understand the book and discuss it with someone else. It is important to know the story elements.

4. Show the cover of the book.

Today we will be reading _________________________ by __________________. Without talking, think for a minute about what you think this book is about.

5. Direct students to the large copy of the Story Map.

We are going to make a map of this story as we read. We will write down information about the characters, setting, and plot. Look at the Story Map. The plot is divided into three boxes. One box is for the problem, one is for what happens in between the problem and the solution, and the other is for the solution.

6. Read the book, stopping at important information.

First, let’s write down the title of this book on our Story Map. We’ve already come across some information about the characters and setting. Let’s write it on our Story Map. What do we know about a character? Let’s write down the character’s name and also a little information about the character like the age, and maybe even what the character looks like. What do we know about the setting? Where is this story taking place?

Call on students and record their answers on the large Story Map.


7. Direct students to their copies of the Story Map.

You are going to write down more information about character and setting and fill in the boxes about plot on your Story Map.

While I read the book, listen carefully for information about characters, setting, and plot. I will pause to give you time to write down the information on your Story Map.

8. Read the book, pausing to allow students to write down important details on their graphic organizers.

9. Make sure the Story Map is complete.

The Story Map is a map of the story. That means that someone who has not read the book should be able to look at the Story Map and see who is in the book, where the story takes place, and what happens in the book. Take a look at your Story Map and make sure you have all of the important information written down.

10. Ask students to turn to a partner to share what they have written about the story elements.

Now we will share our work. Turn to a partner and take turns explaining what you wrote down about the characters, setting, and plot.

11. Hold a class discussion about how the story elements help them talk about the book.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to write more than one thing in the boxes for characters, setting, and plot.

For Struggling Students:

Some students may struggle with writing down information for all of the story elements on the Story Map. In this case, it may be helpful to ask these students to do a brief retelling of the story. Likely, the information they use in the retelling is what should go on the graphic organizer. Ask questions like:

  • Who were the important people in this book?
  • Where does this story take place?
  • What happened in this book?
  • What was the problem? How was it solved?

For ELL Students:

Before reading the book, explain the meaning of any key vocabulary or concepts that they need in order to follow the book. Make sure students understand the terminology on the Story Map. Use the questions above to guide them in thinking about the story elements.

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