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Lesson Plan

Sequencing: A Strategy to Succeed at Reading Comprehension

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time One 60-minute session or two 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Leliaert

Fishers, Indiana


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Listen to the story of Paul Bunyan while focusing on the important events in the story

  • Write complete sentences and draw illustrations describing events from the story

  • Work with their classmates to discover the sequence of events by putting the illustrations in order on the class timeline

  • Write journal entries about how finding the sequence in a story helps increase their understanding

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Instruction and Activities

1. Ask the students if they have ever read any tall tales. Then ask why they think these stories are called tall tales. Discuss this genre of stories with the class and then introduce the story of Paul Bunyan by showing examples of illustrations from the Paul Bunyan: The Giant Lumberjack website with an LCD projector. This website allows users to page through a series of vignettes about Paul Bunyan and his adventures.

2. Read the picture book Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg to the class. Students may follow along if there is a class set available.

3. Guide students to focus on the events that take place in the story and the order in which they occur. Students can take notes during reading, or listen first and then participate in a class discussion about the story to follow.

4. After reading the story, have the students come up to the chalkboard or flipchart one by one to list events from the story. If time is limited, you can write down the events on the chalkboard as students say them.

5. After listing as many events from the story as possible, have each student select a particular event. Make sure that all events are assigned to at least one student in the class. Students may also be grouped in pairs to work on this part of the lesson.

6. Introduce the concept of sequence to the class and explain that this is a strategy that they are going to use to understand what they have read. Explain that they are going to build a "human" timeline to review the sequence of events in the story of Paul Bunyan.

7. Give each student or pair of students a blank sheet of plain white paper, and have them work together to write one complete sentence describing the event from the story.

8. After students finish writing their sentences, give them about 15 minutes to draw detailed illustrations of the scenes in which the events took place.

9. Begin the timeline process by having students divide themselves up into three groups based on when their event happened in the story: beginning, middle, or end.

10. In each group, have students work together to decide the sequence of events. When the group has a tentative order, they are to sit in a line in their order.

11. Students can then share their sentences and their drawings with the class, and the class may make changes to the location of the students along the timeline of Paul Bunyan.

12. When the class has decided on a sequence for the events, have each student attach his or her drawing to the chart paper timeline hanging on the wall using glue or a stapler. Also, the students can count off in line and number their drawings to reinforce the sequence of events.

13. As a closing activity, have students write short journal entries about how this activity helped them to better understand the story of Paul Bunyan.

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  • On a blank map of the United States, trace the trail of Paul Bunyan as he experiences his adventures. Blank maps are available at NationalAtlas.gov.

  • Download copies of a cloze activity about Paul Bunyan for students to complete. You may also choose to have students complete the cloze activity as a class.

  • Read and discuss the sequence of other tall tales at the Tall Tales of American Folklore website.

  • Further explore tall tales using the ArtsEdge lesson plan, Tall Tales Today. In this lesson, students learn about the characteristics of tall tales and write their own tall tale set in contemporary America.

  • Second-grade students may enjoy using the online Timeline tool to put together the sequence of events from the story of Paul Bunyan. The timeline tool can also be used to sequence events from other stories or students' own personal experiences.

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  • Observe students' participation in the discussion of the story and sequence activities.

  • Review students' writing and illustrations that describe the event from Paul Bunyan.

  • Assess students' completed journal assignments reflecting on ways that thinking about the sequence of events helped support their learning and understanding.


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