How to Use Story Sequencing to Improve Reading Comprehension

Nov 12, 2019 by

As humans, we identify most life events as having a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s also the most basic way to learn how to recall what we’ve read. That’s why sequencing lessons are such an effective strategy when teaching reading comprehension to young students.

Sequencing gets kids to put a story together in chronological order while recalling it orally or in writing.

Comprehension is as vital to a developing mind as the ability to read in the first place. After all, reading and useful recall are at the foundation of every subject the student will undertake throughout their school years and afterward.

The lesson can also help students in other subjects beyond reading and writing. Everything from math formulas to science experiments and historical events can be best understood at a beginning, middle, and end format. That’s why practicing sequencing with the young reader is so critical.

How to Teach Sequencing

Teach your students to think in terms of events happening in chronological order. What you’re asking them to consider is “what happened…and then what happened…and then how did the story end?”

Make this as easy as possible. Your sequencing worksheets should include stories with a definite beginning, middle, and end, and told in chronological order. Familiar fables and fairy tales are usually constructed this way and are fun to read.

Start by explaining the concept of sequencing. Read your first stories out loud as a group. Point out plot points as they happen in sequence.

For instance, if you were to read The Three Little Pigs together, you might call out the following in-order story elements.

  • Three brother pigs each decide to build their own houses
  • The laziest little pig builds a flimsy straw house
  • The second pig builds a house of scrap wood
  • The wisest little pig takes more time and creates a sturdier house of bricks
  • A wolf comes along and blows down the first pig’s straw house
  • This pig runs to his brother’s wooden house
  • The wolf blows down the wooden house
  • Both little pigs run to the third brother’s brick house
  • The wolf can’t blow this house down

Additional Drills

Now let your students sequentially retell the stories they’ve read. They might start this exercise in a group setting after first having read a story together or individually. Each student might be asked to state what happened chronologically in the story.

When students become more familiar with the skill, you can ask them to sequentially retell a story in writing.

There are various ways of making this exercise fun. You might present your kids with copies of a story in which the story elements have been separated and are in random order. Their challenge will be to put the story back together in sequential order.

Instead of narration, you might give them individual pictures that can be put together in the same way.

A young reader who has a clear understanding of story sequencing will do better at reading comprehension. But beyond that, your students will be better prepared to understand every lesson they’re taught.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.