S.T.O.R.Y. Structure

50 min.

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I can use STORY as a structure to analyze fiction.

Big Idea

Many things in the world have an established structure or a way of being organized and one of the ways to thinking about fiction is to use the acronym S.T.O.R.Y to dig a little deeper.

Read #1666 in Wonderopolis in pairs and then discuss why are there seven days in a week? What other structures do you see in the world that people use to create a sense of organization?

Using a fiction story that is well known to the class, maybe a story that was read aloud, ask students to brainstorm all the things that that story has that they have also noticed in other stories. ("What did you notice about Touching Spirit Bear that you also have noticed is true of other stories?")

After the class has generated a broad list of ideas, ask them to help you organize the list into categories. What are things that appear to be true of all stories of fiction?

It is likely that you can lead the class to the following list of consistent elements in fiction:

  • Setting
  • Thinking and Talking Characters
  • Oops - or Problems (Conflicts)
  • Resolutions
  • Yes! - a message for the reader

Ask students to use this acronym to determine if many of the fiction stories they know follow this structure. Does it appear that nearly all fiction stories have these elements?

Ask students to use this acronym to analyze a fiction story and to specifically note elements from the text that demonstrate each of the 5 letters of S.T.O.R.Y.

Confirm that students were able to note specific elements from the fiction stories to match with each of the letters of S.T.O.R.Y. Confirm their understanding of each element by asking for further verbal clarification.

Whole class discussion could the return to the #1666 wonder to ask if nonfiction fits the STORY structure. Why doesn't it? What elements are likely to be included when analyzing for nonfiction structures? But this is a task for another day. :)