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Picking Out Events in Readings: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Do you read carefully? If you do, you know how to identify elements of a story such as setting, characters, events, and themes. In this lesson, you will learn how to locate the key events in a story.

What is an Event?

When you hear the word event, you may think of an exciting occurrence that has many spectators, such as a baseball game or a concert. When you analyze a story, the word event refers to what happens in the story. All of the events of the story, assembled in order, make up the plot of the story.

Finding Key Events

Events and Main Events

How do you find the events in a story? Events require action. Let's look at part of a sample story.

Sample Passage
sample passage

What happened in the story? Lucas woke up, looked out the window, talked to Mom, decided to play before breakfast, made a snowman, made a snow angel, and built a fort with Kendra. Each of these actions could be considered a story event.

Usually, if you are asked to find the events in a story, you should look for the main events. The main events are the most important events in the story. When you think about your life, events such as concerts and birthdays are like main events. Events such as eating breakfast and showering are not main events.

Here is a test to see if an event in a story is a main event: changing or removing a main event would significantly change the story itself.

Here are the main events of our story:

  • Lucas got ready to play in the snow.
  • Lucas went outside and played in the snow with his neighbor Kendra.

Without these two events, our story would be very different. Notice that when we state the main events, we don't need to write them word for word from the story.

Events vs. Other Story Elements

If you are analyzing a story, you will notice that some parts of the story are not events but other story elements. This sentence identifies the setting and the main character of the story:

  • In a small town in Minnesota, there lived an eight-year-old boy named Lucas.

This sentence is a description of setting:

  • The back yard was coated in white powdery snow.

This is a line of dialogue. Dialogue often occurs during story events, but is not actually an event.

  • ''Mom, I'm going outside!''

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