Basic Story Grammar (& a FREEBIE)

If you are anything like me you know that teaching story grammar elements has so many research based and practical applications for students with language delays. It is so important for our students to be able to tell a story to people in their lives (to tell what happened at recess, what happened over the weekend, or heaven forbid be able to tell us who, what, and where if something bad happened to them). I take this goal very seriously. But like everything else, I had no idea where to start. That is why I created my Story Grammar Starter Kit . These simple stories and accompanying visuals introduce the VERY basics of setting, character, and 4 events in order. Basically, the BASICS of story retell. Stay tuned for  FREEBIE at the end of this post!

Let me show you where I start.

The first thing we need to establish is what a character is and what a setting is. I created this sorting mat for just that purpose.

My students practice sorting what is a character and what is a setting, over and over. I am sure to use the words “character” and “setting” as much as possible during this activity so that my students get used to this vocabulary. I also point out the picture on the character mat and the visual on the setting mat, as these will show up again in our stories and on our story retell mat. I also use this mat to practice what I call “story starter sentences”. These sentences include the setting and the character. For example, “The dog was at the farm”.

Make this a game, make it fun! Pull up some YouTube clips from Disney movies and identify the character and setting. Page through their favorite story books. I usually spend a few weeks on this skill alone.

Once I really think my students understand this concept we move on to my simple stories. These stories are short and sweet. Each page includes an interactive comprehension questions (my students are very familiar with this format from my preschool language packs 😊

Each page includes a visual in the top left hand corner that corresponds with the story grammar element. We read these books over and over. My students can basically memorize them and that is GREAT!

Once I feel that my students grasp the story I check their comprehension with the visual WH question cards. If they need a little extra help I encourage them to “look back in the story”. This is an important skill as they mature. My students love to use different forms to answer the questions like dry erase markers, play doh, magic wands, and so much more!

After I have checked comprehension we create our story map. We use our story to pick out the character, setting, and put the four events in order. We create a starter sentence and practice retelling our story using transition words like first, next, then, and last. I usually model for my students and then they get to “be the teacher and tell the story”. They just LOVE getting to sit in my chair and being called “Mr. or Ms."

If you still want to focus on the same story after that, I included 4 vocabulary cards with each story. These can be used for describing, following directions, yes/no questions, the possibilities are endless!

Grab this FREEBIE Story Retell Mat. Create your own visuals, write on it with dry erase markers, print it out in black and white and have students draw wan event from their weekend! 

Check out my Story Grammar Starter Kit here
Check out my Story Grammar Fall Stories here

Here are the supplies I use to prep my story grammar starter kit:

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