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Teaching Plot Structure: 5 Types of Plot

Lesson on Types of Plot is part of a 3-part series on teaching plot structure to kids. Includes a free printable

In the last couple weeks, we’ve covered the 3 types of story and the elements of plot. To wrap up my series on teaching plot, let’s talk about the different types of plot that occur in stories.  If you research types of plot at all, it won’t take but a minute to see that the experts disagree on just how many they are.  3, 5, 7?  36?

I think  most of the 36 could be boiled down to one of 5-7 plot types, but it’s fun to look at plot with a more detailed mindset.  I’ve heard it said that nothing original has been written since Shakespeare (and since so many of our current books and movies are based either on his plays or on fairy tales, I’m not saying that’s wrong).

But everyone has a different voice and a different idea of how the plot type will unfold.  So even though it seems like there are a million plot lines out there, let’s take a look at how closely our favorite books fit into just a few different types of plot.
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Teaching Plot Structure: The Elements of Plot

Lesson on the elements of plot is part of a series on teaching plot structure to kids and includes a free printable

As we move through this series on plot structure, make sure your young students understand the reasons for learning it.

Knowing plot structure is essential for writing creatively, but it also helps with reading.  Understanding the elements of plot can help young readers make more sense of the stories they’re enjoying.

There are 3 basic approaches to story, and all of them follow the same arc.  Let’s take a look at the elements of that arc.
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Teaching Plot Structure: 3 Types of Story

Understanding the 3 baskic approaches to story can help kids understand plot structure

Reading with kids and encouraging kids to read is the  most important thing we can do for their education.

The end.

Just kidding.

But you don’t want them to just read, do you?  Because as amazing as that is, you also want them to be able to understand what they’re reading and prepare them for college, when reading (let’s face it) is not so simple anymore.
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Chucking the Reading Level

Chucking the reading level can help your child learn to love to read organically

I’ve often said I’m not about reading levels for kids.  I think too much stress is put on reading levels in public schools, and it spills over into other types of schooling.  I’ve seen it it kill any love for books kids might develop.  Reading is such a personal act, and learning it should be as organic as it can be.

When my boys were little, we could often be found curled up with a stack of picture books on  the floor, reading through them one at a time and exclaiming over the pictures, studying the letters, discussing the sentence structure.  But at bedtime, even when they were toddlers, I snuggled up with them and read them a chapter from a chapter book.  Harry Potter The Key to RondoThe Narnia seriesThe Guardians of Ga’HooleA Series of Unfortunate Events.

Why?  Because stories expand our minds, and I wanted my boys to learn early how to let that happen without pictures.  Even I was surprised by how quietly they settled down and focused on the chapter each night, closing their eyes and letting my voice lull them.  I wasn’t at all surprised by the vocabulary they picked up, the way their imaginations swelled to include new knowledge, or their high-level ability to understand complex situations at an early age.  That’s what reading above your ‘reading level’ does for you.
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