K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • properly sequence story from left to right.
  • explore specific vocabulary words needed to relate the story.
  • utilize complete sentences to relate story. Sentences will include correct grammatical forms, pronouns, etc.
  • demonstrate carryover of articulation skills as he/she retells story.
  • answer questions relative to time concepts: first, last, before, after.
  • demonstrate strategies to assist him/her with recalling information.
  • demonstrate ability to predict a second outcome to the story.
  • use imagination to determine what might have happened before the story actually began.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 Minutes



  • Evaluate the language skills of your students: use of full sentences, varied verb tenses, personal pronouns, etc. If you have a student who is receiving articulation therapy, work with the speech pathologist to determine which sounds need to be reinforced in the classroom.
  • Sequence a story for the children, modeling the strategies you use to determine what happens first, second, etc.


  1. Examine each picture in the story and identify specific objects, actions, people. Use probing questions to elicit specific vocabulary. You may want to write the vocabulary on the blackboard.
  2. Your questioning patterns will elicit specific responses. Vary them to teach specific verb tenses:
    • “What does he do next?”
    • “What is she ____?”
    • “What will they do after ___?”
    • “What did he do before ___?”
  3. Model complete sentences when appropriate. Similar techniques can be used to teach pronouns, if this is an area of concern.
  4. Have student find a picture that you describe. Then ask him what happened “before” or what will happen “after”.
    • Show me the picture “Before the boy ___, he ____.”
    • Show me the picture “After the father ____, the daughter ___.”
  5. Students should be using correct articulation at the word level before you stress carryover to sentences and storytelling. Have student identify words in the story that contain his/her target sound(s). Have student use these words in a complete sentence as he/she tells the story.
  6. After story is correctly sequenced, have student close his/her eyes. You remove one picture. Student identifies missing picture using a complete sentence. If student has difficulty, retell the story to the missing fact. This strategy should clue him/her to identify the missing picture (information). When the student is successful at this level, I remove two, then three pictures.
  7. After student has successfully sequenced and told the story, place a blank card at the end of the story. Explain to the student that he/she can make the story longer. “What do you think will happen next?” or “What will he do after ___?” Student can draw the picture after he/she gives an acceptable response.


The student:

  • demonstrates telling a story following a logical progression of facts.
  • uses grammatically correct sentences as he/she tells their story.
  • correctly answers questions relevant to concepts taught.

Supplemental information


I have adapted this lesson plan for autistic children, children with fragile X and students in the mild mentally handicapped range of intelligence.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RL.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
          • 1.RL.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
          • K.RL.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
          • K.RL.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)


  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.01: Demonstrate sense of story (e.g., beginning, middle, end, characters, details).