Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (2023)

Recognizing story elements is a key reading comprehension skill and can help students build a lifelong love of literature. Both fiction and nonfiction stories pique our interest, rouse our emotions, and keep us invested in the topic at hand—whether it’s a history lesson, a math problem, or an ELA skill. And as we know, engagement is a core indicator of student success. But stories don’t just appear out of thin air: The good ones contain five key story elements: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme.

Stories and story elements have always been at the heart of Flocabulary. Keep reading to explore five fun ways to teach this with Flocabulary’s lesson resources.

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What are the 5 elements of a story?

“Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes, these are the 5 things

That you’re going to be needing

When you’re reading or writing

A short story that’s mad exciting.”

These are lyrics from Flocbulary’s Five Elements of a Story video, which has been a teacher and student favorite since its debut, and for good reason. The song’s hook clearly and succinctly lays out the five elements of a story in a catchy way that students will remember.


@Flocabulary is my favorite source to use to hook my kids and introduce a topic. Yesterday we learned about the 5 elements of a story. #res3grit #RobinsonISD @ElemRob

— Debra Matus (@DebraMatus) November 5, 2019

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (1)

1. Introduce story elements by watching our educational hip-hop video, Five Elements of a Story

This Five Elements of a Story video has been a teacher and student favorite since its debut, and for good reason: The song’s hook clearly and succinctly lays out the five elements of a story in a catchy way that students will remember.

Use our standards-aligned lesson plan to guide students through the video, printable worksheet, and an optional extension activity to further support discussion and understanding.

Watch the video

Lesson sequence for The Five Elements of a Story

The Five Elements of a Story video comes with the complete suite of lesson resources that Flocabulary teachers know and love. Here’s how you can use each part of the lesson to teach what the 5 elements of a story are:

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (2)
  1. Video – Play this fully illustrated and animated video for the whole class. Teachers can slow down the playback speed, print out the lyrics as a PDF, and point to the subtitles to help students of all levels fully comprehend the lesson.
  2. Discuss Mode – Teachers can toggle on a series of open-ended discussion questions to inspire classroom conversation about story elements. For example, one question prompts students to describe the plot of a book they recently read or a movie they watched.
  3. Vocab Cards – Students can study seven Tier 3 vocabulary words that are integral to learning about the five elements of a story. Teachers can assign students to draw a picture or write a sentence using each word to demonstrate mastery of the vocabulary.
  4. Vocab Game – Students can play this fun, interactive game individually, in small groups, or as a whole class on a smartboard. With each correct answer, they work toward building a complete hip-hop beat.
  5. *NEW* Break It Down – This feature lets students gather text evidence directly from the video and explain how it supports their answer to a question.
  6. Read & Respond – Custom-written reading passages and standards-aligned questions reinforce the information from the video and let students practice reading comprehension.
  7. Quiz – This 10-question, multiple-choice quiz assesses what students learned from the video.
  8. Lyric Lab – Students can use the vocabulary and information they learned to create their own rhymes.
  9. Printable Activity – On this printable worksheet, students answer the question, “What are the 5 elements of a story?” They can either analyze a story they recently read or plan out their own story.

Learn how Flocabulary works

(Video) 5 Story Elements Explained With Examples 📚

2. Use Flocabulary Mix to have students identify elements of a story

Flocabulary Mix is an innovative mix-and-match collection of skill videos and video texts for grades K-12, available only to Flocabulary Plus subscribers. Teachers can pair a specific, standards-aligned ELA skill (like Main Idea or Author’s Purpose) with a video text that’s tailor-made for students to practice that skill. We’ve written a mix of fiction and nonfiction texts for a total of over 300 unique “mixes.”

How to use Flocabulary Mix

Flocabulary Mix is also an ideal way to practice identifying story elements. Let’s look at the lesson “Theme.” We’ve scaffolded this story element into standards-aligned skill videos for grades 2 through 12 that can be paired with a grade-appropriate text video. For example, the grade 2 skill video is called “Moral of the Story.” A host describes what a fable is and explains that authors often include big life lessons in their stories. Students can then apply what they learned by watching a video text and identifying its theme.

Skills and texts are appropriate for older students, too. 11th and 12th graders can watch a skill video about “Interaction of Themes,” which explains that stories often have more than one theme—and these themes can build on each other to add complexity and deeper meaning. For example, one theme in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that too much passion is dangerous, as when the priest observes that “Violent delights have violent ends.” But another theme is that passion is life-giving. As Juliet says, “The more [love] I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” These opposing themes encourage deeper thinking and create tension that raises an essential question —and a third theme: How can we balance passion with temperance?

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (3)

Video texts also become more complex for older grades; teachers can pair this skill video with a literary nonfiction text about Holocaust hero Irena Sendler, an adaptation of O. Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi,” an original science-fiction story called “Pit,” and more.

Students and teachers can also use Flocabulary Mix to practice identifying other story elements like Characters and Setting. Plus, each video text comes with all of the regular Flocabulary lesson resources listed above, including Break It Down.

Get in touch about Flocabulary Plus

(Video) Story Elements and How They Interact: Vocabulary Lesson and Notes

3. Browse Flocabulary’s Literature video lesson library

Under Flocabulary’s subject Language Arts, you’ll find Literature as a topic area. This section includes a wide array of videos based on commonly taught books and stories such as Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace.” Each Literature video includes the full set of Flocabulary lesson resources that you’ll find throughout the site. Teachers can also use these videos to create their own lesson plans to teach the five elements of a story.

Here is one lesson idea you can use with students to get started:

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (4)
  1. Watch a video from the Literature topic area with the whole class—for example, A Christmas Carol, based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Then toggle on the Discuss button to bring up open-ended questions about the video as you watch a second time. These questions are meant to drive thoughtful discussion among the whole class, in small groups, or individually as writing prompts. For example: “Do you think people can change completely late in life?”
  2. Break the class into five groups. Assign each group one story element to focus on: plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme.
  3. Each group will prepare a presentation on their story element and how it relates to the story as a whole. For example, the Character group might explain how Ebenezer Scrooge’s personality changes throughout the story, making him a complex character. The Conflict group might discuss the external conflict of Scrooge vs. society, as well as Scrooge’s internal conflict about his own behavior. This activity will emphasize to students the importance of each story element—they all work together to create a complete, complex story.

Explore Literature lessons

4. Teach vocabulary along with elements of a story

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (5)

Word Up, Flocabulary’s extensive vocabulary curriculum, is proven to improve scores on state reading and language arts tests—and this program does double duty by providing additional opportunities for students to practice identifying story elements. Word Up comprises of 120 grade-specific vocabulary lessons for kindergarten through high school—and almost every Word Up video is a story in its own right.

One example: “Subway Superman” is a grade 7 Word Up lesson that teaches important tier 2 vocabulary words like “anonymous,” “astute,” “homage,” “magnitude,” and “stodgy.” But rather than just list these words in a boring way, we work them into the real-life story of Wesley Autrey.

Students can discuss the plot of the story (Wesley Autrey jumps onto the train tracks to save another man from an oncoming train) as well as the setting (New York City) and conflict (Autrey’s race against time and the speeding train). They can also analyze Autrey as a character by using details from the lyrics (“Autrey didn’t want to be just a bystander” and “He didn’t do it for the spotlight, no! / He only did what he felt was right”). Students can even come up with their own themes based on their interpretation of the story, such as “It’s important to help other people no matter what” and “Doing the right thing leads to great rewards.”

(Video) Story Elements Part 1: Characters, Setting, and Events | English For Kids | Mind Blooming

Explore Word Up vocabulary lessons

5. Have students write and rap their own stories using Lyric Lab

Creating—the highest layer of Bloom’s Taxonomy—can be challenging and time-consuming to implement in the classroom, but it is well worth the effort for both teachers and students. Once students have studied the five elements of a story through the methods above, let them express their creativity and show what they’ve learned by writing a rap or poem to tell their own story.

Five Elements of a Story: Teaching Resources (6)

Lyric Lab is a tool that’s available in every Flocabulary lesson and can help turn your classroom into a rhyme-writing workshop. Working individually or in groups, students can choose from a selection of hip-hop beats and write raps or poems line by line. Lyric Lab includes a rhyming dictionary and a word bank that keeps track of which vocabulary words students have used in their rhymes. Once students’ raps are completed, they can export their lyrics onto a printable PDF—and even perform them in front of the class.

In addition to being a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge, Lyric Lab is culturally responsive pedagogy in action. It highlights student voices and allows students to take ownership of their own learning. And when students see themselves in what they’re learning, they stay engaged, think critically, and process new information better.

Start teaching Language Arts with Flocabulary

Here’s what to take away: Stories are one of the most effective ways to keep students engaged and invested in what they are learning, and great stories include five elements: plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme. Flocabulary offers multiple entries points to teach stories and story elements, from direct instruction in the “Five Elements of a Story” video to the custom-written video texts in Flocabulary Mix to the creative outlet of Lyric Lab. Sign up for a free Flocabulary trial to access these resources and more.

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(Video) Five Essential Elements In A Story

Interested in reading more about this topic? Check out this blog post: Using Flocabulary to support writing instruction


What are the 5 elements of a story lesson plan? ›

Story Analysis

Groups should identify the five elements of character, setting, plot, conflict, and theme in the book/story. Groups should come up with a creative way to visually represent these elements.

How do you teach the elements of a story? ›

How to Teach Story Elements? The best way to teach story elements is through your daily read alouds. During this time you can introduce the terms with a story elements anchor chart and discuss them with your students. Typically it is best to introduce one component at a time.

What are five elements of a story? ›

This song covers the five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme. Whether you're studying a short story, a novel, an epic poem, a play or a film, if you don't find these five elements, you're not looking hard enough.

What are the 5 parts of a story structure for kids? ›

Those five elements are characters, setting, problem, events, and solution. All stories have these parts.

What is the five stage story structure? ›

Freytag identified a five-act structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement. He produced a pyramid to demonstrate this idea; this is known as the Freytag pyramid.

How do you teach the elements of a story for kindergarten? ›

4 Ways of Teaching Story Elements
  1. Using Graphic Organisers. Graphic organisers allow extracting elements, such as the character, problem, solution, conclusion, etc. ...
  2. Read, Roll, and Retell. This fun activity is a great way to do a group review of material kids have just read. ...
  3. Picking a Part. ...
  4. Using a Story Graph.
Jun 21, 2021

How do you introduce a story element to a child? ›

One of the most effective ways of teaching story elements is to incorporate the terms as you read the story.
  1. To begin with, you can stop during the story to identify who is in the story and where the story takes place. ...
  2. Before starting a new story, invite your students to listen to the character and the setting.

Why is it important to teach elements of a story? ›

Commonly identified elements of a story include plot, character, setting, and theme. The ability to identify the elements of a story aids in comprehension, leads to a deeper understanding and appreciation of stories, and helps students learn to write stories of their own.

What are the 5 elements examples? ›

According to some traditions, everything in the universe comes from the five elements: wood, fire, earth, water, and metal. From the smallest atom to a giant whale to the solar system itself, all things are said to be composed of some combination of these elements.

What are the five elements? ›

According to the five elements theory, everything in nature is made up of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space.

What are elements of a story? ›

Story Elements
  • Setting.
  • Characters.
  • Plot.
  • Conflict.
  • Resolution.
  • Point of View.
  • Theme.

What are the 5 story types? ›

Those seven types of story are:
  • Overcoming the Monster.
  • Rags to Riches.
  • The Quest.
  • Voyage and Return.
  • Rebirth.
  • Comedy.
  • Tragedy.

How do you explain the structure of a story to a child? ›

The story structure is the order of events that happen in a story. It includes the beginning, or exposition, where the setting, characters, and problems are introduced. The middle of the story includes information about how the character tries to solve the problem, which is followed by the ending or resolution.

What are the five 5 main building blocks of a short story? ›

They are the true masters at combining the five elements of a short story: plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme.

What are the 5 elements of short story according to Freytag? ›

Freytag used these five parts to analyze the structure: lowest left -exposition, left middle-rising action, highest-climax, right middle-falling action and right lowest-resolution.

What are the main structures of a story? ›

Key story structure elements
  • The opening/exposition.
  • The inciting incident.
  • Rising action/crises.
  • The climax.
  • Falling action/the denouement.
  • The resolution.
Nov 16, 2021

What is the best way to introduce characters in a story? ›

Character Introduction Examples And Tips
  1. Give Your Characters One Or Two Memorable Features. ...
  2. Describe Your Characters By The Clothes They Wear. ...
  3. Introduce Your Characters By Their Voice And Demeanour. ...
  4. Introduce Characters Through Action. ...
  5. Introduce Characters Through Dialogue. ...
  6. Introduce Them Through Another Character.

What is story elements lesson 3rd grade? ›

Four main elements of stories: Setting, Characters, Plot, and Theme. The setting is where and when a story takes place. It includes things like the weather and the situation in which a character finds himself or herself. There may be one setting or many settings throughout a story.

How do you teach story elements with pick cards? ›

Teach Story Elements with “Pick a Card”

Break students up into small groups or pairs and have each student pick a card without revealing its element. One at a time, each student reads a passage from a story you've studied that illustrates the element while the other students try to identify what's on the card.

What is the most important element of a story and why? ›

Character is perhaps the most important element of fiction, as things must happen to someone or something in order for a story to progress. Not only is this crucial for story development, but as human beings, we read stories and enjoy stories because we can see ourselves in them, often through the characters.

What is the most important among the elements of the story? ›

According to House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, the answer is a simple one: "The most important element in a good story is conflict.

What is storytelling method of teaching? ›

Storytelling is the original form of teaching and has the potential of fostering emotional intelligence and help the child gain insight into human behaviour. Storytelling also promotes language learning by enriching learners' vocabulary and ac- quiring new language structures.

How do you introduce characters to each other in a story? ›

How to Introduce Characters in Your Writing
  1. Don't get bogged down in physical appearance. ...
  2. Give your character a memorable character trait. ...
  3. Start with backstory when appropriate. ...
  4. Introduce a character through action. ...
  5. Introduce the main character as soon as possible.
Aug 23, 2021

Do you create characters or plot first? ›

To reiterate before you go and write the beginning of your next epic story, let me remind you: while there are exceptions to the rule, it's generally best to start your story with plot and character at the same time because your protagonist should be so essential to the plot that the plot needs them to move forward ...

What are the 5 most important elements? ›

1. Note that most living matter consists primarily of the so-called bulk elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur—the building blocks of the compounds that constitute our organs and muscles. These five elements also constitute the bulk of our diet; tens of grams per day are required for humans.

What are the 5 top elements? ›

Most common elements:
  • Hydrogen , Helium , Oxygen , Carbon , and Neon are the five most abundant elements in the Milky Way galaxy.
  • Oxygen is the most prevalent element in the Earth's crust, followed by Silicon , Aluminum. 3 % ) , Iron. 6 % ) , and Calcium. 6 % ) .

What are the first 5 elements? ›

What are the electrons of the first 5 elements?
  • Hydrogen (H): Valency : 1 , Valence electrons : 1.
  • Helium (He): Valency : 0, Valence electrons : 2.
  • Lithium (Li): Valency : 1, Valence electrons : 1.
  • Beryllium (Be): Valency : 2, Valence electrons : 2.
  • Boron (B): Valency : 3, Valence electrons : 3.

What are the 5 elements and principles? ›

The Elements and Principles of Design - List. The Elements of Design are the things that artists and designers work with to create a design, or composition. The Elements are: line, shape, space, value, color and texture.

How do I find my 5 elements? ›

To find your Chinese zodiac element, it's determined by your birth year, particularly the last digit.
  1. Metal: Birth years ending in 0 or 1.
  2. Water: Birth years ending in 2 or 3.
  3. Wood: Birth years ending in 4 or 5.
  4. Fire: Birth years ending in 6 or 7.
  5. Earth: Birth years ending in 8 or 9.
Nov 7, 2022

How are the 5 elements formed? ›

It is formed by a combination of the five great elements—earth, water, fire, air and space. The five elements mix up in a scientific manner described as panchikaranam or quintuplification. In this process the elements divide themselves into two parts each.

What are story elements for 4th graders? ›

Story Elements: Setting, Characters, Plot, and Theme. The setting of a story is the time and place in which the events happen. It includes the physical, historical, and cultural settings of a story. It includes the situation in which a character or characters find themselves.

What is a story element chart? ›

What is a story map? A story map is a graphic organizer that helps students learn the elements of a narrative. Learning to identify a story's characters, plot, setting, problem, and solution prompts students to read carefully to learn the important details. There are many different types of story maps.

What are the elements of a story lesson plan 8th grade? ›

There are eight elements of a story: theme, plot, characters, setting, conflict, point-of-view, tone and style.

What are the elements of a story lesson plan Grade 4? ›

REMEMBER: The four story elements of setting, characters, plot, and theme work together to make a complete story. There can be no plot without setting and characters. Without a plot, there is no reason for characters and setting. There can be no theme without plot.

What are story elements lesson plan 3rd grade? ›

Four main elements of stories: Setting, Characters, Plot, and Theme. The setting is where and when a story takes place. It includes things like the weather and the situation in which a character finds himself or herself.

What are the elements lesson plan? ›

The elements of the lesson plan are: assessment, duration, objectives, activities, strategies and learning outcomes (Burgul Adiguzel, 2021).


1. Tips for Teaching Story Elements
(Jessica Tobin)
2. Story Elements Part 2 | Problem and Solution | English For Kids | Mind Blooming
(Mind Blooming)
3. Story Elements Song | Character, Setting and Plot!
(Swick's Classroom)
4. Teaching Demonstration (The Elements of the short story)
(Meriz Sarah Jean)
5. Story Elements
(Leigha Nunnally)
6. Story Elements: Setting Teaching Resource for Teachers and Students
(Innovative Teaching Ideas)
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