Grade: elementary
Subject: Literature

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#27. Story Wheels

Literature, level: elementary
Posted by Angela Ackley (
The Teacher's Desk
Ashtabula Catholic Middle School, US
Materials Required: a recently read novel, paper, writng and coloring utensils, scissors, glue
Concepts Taught: sequencing, summarization of plot

Story Wheel is a reading activity designed to help students practice
sequencing skills, summarizing a novel, visualizing story elements, and
recognizing story structure. It can be used at any grade level and can
be adapted for Social Studies or Science text. I have even adapted the
size of the project so an individual student can complete a Story Wheel.


A. Trace a LARGE (3 feet in diameter) circle with chalk and a chalkboard
compass onto colored butcher paper. Cut it out and fold it to make eight
segments (pie pieces). Also cut a small circle (6 inches in diameter)
from some of the scrap.

B. Trace another circle (2.5 feet in diameter) with chalk and a
chalkboard compass onto white butcher paper. Cut it out and fold it into
eight segments. Cut apart the segments.

C. Repeat the above two steps to make enough sets for the number of
groups into which you will divide your students.

D. Divide the class into small groups, about 4-6 students each. Assign a
story or book to the group to read.

E. When the groups have finished their assigned reading. Have them list
the important events in the story. Emphasize that events should be
chosen from the beginning, middle, and end of the selection.

F. Next have the students narrow the list of events to the eight MOST
important. They may want to combine some events so they can properly
summarize the plot. At this point I like to begin stressing proofreading
and editing, requiring that the events be written in complete senteces.
When they have reached a consensus, I check their work, making any
needed suggestions.

G. Once their choices are acceptable, have them write the events on the
white paper segments, across the widest portion. Make sure they place a
number in front of each sentence, indicating the order of the events.

H. Next the students should draw an illustration on the white piece
below their sentence to accompany the event.

I. When all written work and illustrations are completed, the groups can
glue the white pieces onto the large colored circle, centering the white
piece on the colored segment.

J. Write the title and author on the small 6 inch circle and glue in
onto the center of the wheel, over the white pieces' points.

K. Have each group share its Story Wheel with the whole class.

These make wonderful displays for open houses, parent conferences,
special luncheons, or whenever visitors are expected in your building.