Story elements are a common topic for preschool and kindergarten classrooms. But how do you teach and assess knowledge of story elements to a group of students who can’t read independently? Here’s how I do it!
Simple Story Elements Made Practical and Fun!
Back to the Basics
Remember, preschoolers are not ready for “formal” instruction. Stick with play and short bursts of table time to build stamina and focus.
You can click here to read more about why preschoolers need play, and why I create my lessons to be quick, fun, and engaging. Always follow your students’ interests and engagement during your lesson to maximize learning!
The pack featured in this post is all about The Three Little Pigs!
Colorful Story Elements Posters
Aren’t these the cutest? I love that I can use these posters during story time, no matter what story we read.
The pictures on the posters help students to remember what idea we’re talking about.
The different colored borders also help students associate specific vocabulary with each poster.
With repetition, the kids soon pick up that the yellow poster is called “setting.” They can see that the pictures on this poster represent where a story takes place.
You can hang these in your library area, on your focus wall, or keep them handy with your lesson plan and share them during group reading.
These wall word cards can be cut apart and displayed in your library area, or kept in your writing center. Refer to them as you talk about story elements to help your students pick up some of these as sight words!
There’s also one worksheet with the images to color and the words to trace. Don’t force this on younger students who aren’t interested in table work – but provide it in your writing center or optional homework for the students who enjoy this kind of activity.
Writing skills can be developed in preschoolers by drawing and dictating.
To use these worksheets, make a copy for each student, and read the prompt for them. Ask them each to draw a picture showing their idea!
Then, they can dictate their idea to you, and you can label their picture for them.
Some students may be ready to write on their own, especially if you teach above preschool level. That’s great! The word wall words can really come in handy with helping your students build their sentences.
Story Elements Coloring Pages
Once again, worksheets are not the primary way that preschoolers should be learning.
So how about some coloring pages?! Most preschoolers enjoy coloring, so these pages are appropriate to provide for your class.
Creative expression is important in children, but for pages like this, I do like to encourage coloring in the lines and tracing the letters. This helps develop beginning handwriting skills by toning those fine motor muscles.
Your older preschoolers may even try to read the text on the page to your or their parents. Pretending to read by pointing to the words and dictating what they think it says isn’t “wrong,” it’s a foundational literacy skill! This shows that your students associate words with a meaning.
So, the familiarity and consistently across this pack is a great tool for helping kids develop this literacy skill. The text on the posters is the same as the coloring pages, so by reviewing the posters at story time, students will learn the phrases and be able to “read” them on their coloring pages!
“Worksheets? In preschool? Didn’t you just say that those are bad?”
Well, kind of. I believe there’s a time and place for worksheets in preschool.
Occasionally I use worksheets to:
- Give students something to show off to mom and dad
- Show mom and dad what we’ve been working on
- Develop stamina and focus needed for table work in kindergarten
- Work fine motor skills
- Practice following directions
So, you see, there are a few reasons why worksheets can actually be beneficial in preschool! Plus, some kids actually like worksheets (my daughter did). So maybe you don’t do all of these with your class, but offer them to students who are advanced or enjoy them.
When we use worksheets in my classroom:
- We work at the same pace
- Names go on papers before we begin
- Eyes on me or follow along with fingers while I read directions
- We discuss correct answers and I wait for students to complete each step before we move on
The first worksheet is retelling. Students will have to use their thinking skills to recall the story and put the events in order.
The second worksheet also works thinking skills. Students will have to determine which material was used to build each house. They may recall this from the story, or may use experience and critical thinking to solve this one!
The final worksheet works on beginning sounds. This might not be developmentally appropriate for all of your preschool students. If you teach kindergarten, you’ll probably find this worksheet more useful.
Either way, you can use it at a class, or offer it to students who enjoy worksheets or need some phonics practice.
Get This Fun Story Elements and Story Retelling Pack
You can purchase this Three Little Pigs Story Elements and Story Retelling Pack from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Don’t worry, it’s affordable!