Sequence of Events in a Narrative: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Expert Contributor
Sasha Blakeley

Sasha Blakeley has a Bachelor's in English Literature from McGill University and a TEFL certification. She has been teaching English in Canada and Taiwan for seven years.

Learn about the sequence of events in a narrative and how to properly order events when writing. Discover how to organize a story, questions that can help put events in their proper order, and how to use transition words to indicate a sequence. Updated: 01/04/2022

Sequence of Events

Have you ever seen a really good movie? Maybe it was an action-packed superhero movie or a fantasy adventure to a far off land. When a director creates a new film, he or she has to make sure the scenes help the movie make sense from the opening scene until the credits start rolling.

Likewise, as a reader, it's important for you to identify the sequence of events in a story. The sequence of events is the order of events as they occur in a story. Just like when the heroes can't stop the world-ending doomsday machine before it's been built in a superhero movie, the sequence of events in story occurs in a precise order so that it makes sense to the person reading it.

So how do you identify the sequence of events? Get your popcorn because it's showtime!

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  • 0:03 Sequence of Events
  • 0:46 Organize the Story
  • 1:39 Transition Words
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
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Organize the Story

Movie directors often use storyboards to help them visualize what will happen in each scene. Storyboards show what will happen in each camera shot just like the panels of a comic book tell a story. As a reader, you can also think of the sequence of events like a storyboard.

After you've read a story, you can organize the story into three sections and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What happens at the beginning of the story?
  2. What happens in the middle of the story?
  3. What happens at the end of the story?

The beginning of the story usually introduces the main characters, setting, and problem faced by or purpose of the characters. The middle part of the story usually focuses on the characters as they try and solve the problem. The end of the story focuses on how the problem is resolved, or the end of the characters' journey.

It may help to create a chart, like this one, to help you organize the different events that make up the beginning, middle, and end of a story.


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Additional Activities

Sequence of Events: Your Turn

This lesson taught you the importance of understanding the events of a story in order. Check out these lessons to practice what you've learned and explore it in more depth.

Structure of a Narrative: Easy Level

As this lesson explained, there are certain things that usually happen at the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Think of some stories that you are very familiar with. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are a great place to start because they tend to be simple and easy to remember. Choose at least three stories and divide them into their beginning, middle, and end sections. Check back on this lesson if you get stuck. When you feel confident that you've divided the stories properly, get a family member or teacher to check your work.

Story Scramble: Medium Level

There is more to a story than just beginning, middle, and end. Many events can happen in a single story, just like in the example of the tortoise and the hare in this story. Think of a book that you've recently read. On one piece of paper, write a clear list of events in the story. Now, cut them up into separate sentences and mix them all up. Can you put them back together again in the right order? Make sure that the end result of your activity makes logical sense.

Write Your Own: Hard Level

If you feel really confident in your understanding of narrative structure, try writing your own short story. Think carefully about the order of events as you write them. What does the audience have to be aware of for the events to make sense? What is your story's beginning, middle, and end? Consider these questions as you write.

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