EL Support Lesson

Summarizing with Sequence Words

This lesson helps students summarize fictional stories using sequence words. Students will have a chance to practise distinguishing the different parts of a story in this lesson, which can be taught as a precursor to Storyboard Superstars.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theStoryboard SuperstarsLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theStoryboard SuperstarsLesson plan.

Students will be able to identify the beginning, middle, and end of fictional texts.


Students will be able to write a summary of a fictional text with sequence words using a paragraph frame.

(7 minutes)
Frayer ModelSummarizing with Sequence WordsParagraph Frame for Summarizing FictionVocabulary Cards: Summarizing with Sequence WordsGlossary: Summarizing with Sequence WordsWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceTeach Background Knowledge Template
  • Read the language objective aloud and ask students to reread it to a table partner. Emphasize that students will be identifying the beginning, middle, and end of stories in order to summarize them with sequence words.
  • Show students the "Pigeons" video on a computer or tablet and projector. If it is helpful, narrate the story aloud for your learners.
  • Tell students that if you were to summarize the story, you would say, "In the beginning, three chicks in their nest are hungry. Then, they see a cupcake but can't reach it. So they try lots of different ways to get it. Eventually, they give up. In the end, the mother pigeon gives them a worm, but they are mad because they really wanted the cupcake." (Note: you can also write this summary on the board.)
  • Circle or identify the SequenceWords ("in the beginning," "then," "so," "eventually," "in the end"), and inform students that these words help to organise the summary.
(7 minutes)
  • Provide and display student-friendly definitions of the three vocabulary words (Sequence, Chronology, Summary) in English and in students' L1 if they are literate in their home language. Model how to think of a couple examples and non-examples of one of the words as well as how to use it in a sentence.
  • Divide students into three groups, and assign each group one of the vocabulary words. (Note: if you have a larger group of students, feel free to split them into more groups and assign the same word to multiple groups.)
  • Distribute a blank Frayer Model worksheet to each group and tell them to copy the definition on display. Then, tell groups to complete the Frayer model together.
  • Invite a representative from each group to share their completed model.
(9 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will practise using SequenceWords as they summarize fiction texts. Explain that sequence words show the order, or chronology, of events in a story.
  • Distribute the Summarizing with Sequence Words worksheet to each student and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Read the teaching box and add that it is important for readers to be able to identify important events in the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Tell students that practising writing summaries with sequence words will help make their summaries flow nicely, with one main event leading to the next.
  • Ask students, "What would happen if we mixed up the events in the story? How would the sequence words help us put the story in the right order?" Listen to students' responses and record them on the board.
  • Invite a student to read the directions of Part 1 in the worksheet aloud. Ask another student to rephrase the directions.
  • Model how you identify and circle the sequence word in the first sentence, using the word bank provided. Have students complete the rest of Part 1 with a partner at the same English proficiency level. Go over the answers briefly.
  • Read aloud the directions for Part 2. Read the story once, and instruct students to read it aloud a second time.
  • Highlight the beginning of the story with a green highlighter, the middle part in a yellow highlighter, and the end with a red/pink highlighter.
  • Assign students the task of completing the summary sentences independently, using the word bank at the top of the worksheet as a guide. Invite a few reluctant participants to share their sequence word choices with the class by reading aloud the sentences.
(7 minutes)
  • Hand out the Paragraph Frame for Summarizing Fiction worksheet to students.
  • Distribute three different colored highlighters or colored pencils to each pair of students. Read the directions chorally with students and have two students restate them.
  • Tell students to take turns reading a sentence of the story before they each read it on their own for a second read.
  • Instruct students to idependently highlight or underline the text based on the different parts of the story (i.e., one colour for beginning, another for middle, etc.). Then, ask them to compare their highlighting with their partner to ensure they identified each section of the story correctly.
  • Assist struggling students with the identification of the sections.


  • Work with Beginning ELs in a small group to help them complete the paragraph frame. Read the text aloud and provide translation into L1, if applicable.
  • Provide a partially completed paragraph frame as they complete the paragraph frame (i.e., the beginning part is done for them).


  • Allow Advanced ELs to complete the discourse section without the paragraph frame.
  • Invite students to explain their understanding of the new vocabulary words to the whole group in their own words.
(7 minutes)
  • Have students work with the same partner from before, or assign them a new partner, to complete the paragraph frame.
  • Call on a few students to share their completed paragraph frames from the discourse section with the class.
  • Point out that although the exact words of their summaries may differ, the main events should be mentioned in everyone's summaries and the sequence words help to make sure the events are in order.
(3 minutes)
  • Create a word bank on the board with the following words: "summarize," "chronology," and "sequence." Provide students with the following sentence frames and have them do a think-pair-share with an elbow partner using the word bank to finish the sentences:
    • "____Words help us understand the ____Of the story. I can also use ____Words when I retell, or ____A story."

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