Problem & Solution Reading Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

The problem and solution portion of a story is an important aspect to explore in a unit about story elements. These activity ideas will help your students understand the purpose and structure of as story's problem and solution.

Finding the Problem and Solution

An important element of your students' reading comprehension is finding the problem and solution in a story. This can be done in many different ways. The following activities will help you teach your students methods for identifying and analyzing the problem and solution in stories.

Read Aloud

This activity will work best as a way to introduce the topic to your students. Choose a book that you think will interest your students, and model how to stop and think about the text. When you get to the problem of the story, pause and ask students to help you identify the problem. On an anchor chart with two columns labeled Problem and Solution, write the problem that the students helped you identify. Continue reading until you get to the solution, and have students help you identify the solution for the second column.

Gallery Walk

Using their independent reading book, have your students write and illustrate the problem and solution of their book. This can be done on two separate pieces of paper. Have your students display their problem and solution sets around the classroom for a gallery walk. Other students can ask them about the book and their problem and solution set. Afterwards, debrief with your students and ask them about the experience of seeing each other's work.

Find a Better Solution

You can do this activity with either students' independent reading books or your class read aloud book. Have students identify the problem and solution of the book. Then, ask them to try and figure out a better solution for the characters. Students should write a better solution, and explain why they think that solution is better.

Problem and Solution Puzzle

Explain to your students that the problem and solution of a story should fit together like a puzzle. Have students create their own problem and solution puzzle. Their puzzle can be two pieces of paper that students cut to look like two puzzle pieces that fit together. Students draw the problem and solution on the puzzle pieces, using their independent reading books. You may consider having students display them around the classroom and doing a gallery walk to explore each other's work.

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