Sequencing is a reading comprehension strategy that helps students identify the components in a story, including the beginning, middle, and end. It also involves the ability to summarize and retell the events in a story or text in the order in which they happen. I have found that sequencing can be difficult for many students, particularly for struggling readers. On today’s post, I am going to give you my reading comprehension sequencing lesson plan using multisensory and engaging activities that will really help your student grasp the concept of sequencing.    

Step 1: Pictures

I begin by introducing the concept of sequencing with pictures. You can find pictures on the internet or cut them out of magazines. Action shots of people work really well.

On the whiteboard, I write down the words:



I ask the student…

“Tell me what you think happened first.”

“Tell me what you think happened last.”

Then, with a different picture, I write the words on the whiteboard:




I ask the student…

“Tell me what happened first, then and last.”

I also ask questions:

“What do you think happened before this picture?”

“What is happening during the picture?”

“What do you think happened after this picture?”

“Why do you think that…?”

Step 2: Timeline

Next, I ask my student to make and draw a timeline of their life. We start by listing the years in which the following events took place:

  • I was born on…
  • The dates my brothers and sisters were born…
  • My first day of school…
  • The day I first rode my bike…
  • When I lost my first tooth…
  • My first job…
  • Other important dates in my life…

Step 3: Graphic Organizer

First, I ask my student to think about a time when he/she baked cookies. After that, I hand my student a graphic organizer or make one on a whiteboard for them to fill out and I ask the questions:

“Tell me 3 things you might do first before you bake cookies.”  (find a recipe, buy the ingredients, prepare the ingredients)

“Tell me 3 things that you might do while mixing the ingredients.” (pour the flour, put in the eggs, mix the ingredients)

“Tell me 3 things you might do after you mix the ingredients.” (preheat the oven, scoop the dough on the cookie sheets, put in the oven)

“Tell me 3 things you might do after the cookies are baked.”  (let the cookies cool, eat the cookies, share them with friends)

After the student and I have discussed the sequence of baking cookies and filled out the graphic organizer together, I say:

“Now that you have listed everything that you might do when you bake cookies in a sequence, I want you to verbally tell me the entire sequence of events. Tell me what you might do before you bake the cookies, during the baking of the cookies and after you bake the cookies. Tell me the entire sequence using the transition words, FIRST, THEN, NEXT, LAST.”

(It is a good idea to write the transition words on a whiteboard or poster.)

Step 4: Reading a Story

Finally, it is time for my student to apply reading comprehension sequencing strategies when reading a story! 

I feel that at this point the student has a really strong grasp about what the concept of sequencing means and is ready for this more difficult step.

As we are reading the story together, I use prompts to help my student understand the sequence of the story. Some examples of prompts I use during reading are:

“How does the story begin?”

“Where does the first paragraph take place?”

“What is the first thing that ____ did in the story?”

“What happened after _____ did that?”

“What happens in the middle of the story?”

“What happens at the end of the story?”

“Rearrange or change one main fact in this story. Does this change the entire story? How?”

Step 5: Summarize the Story

Finally, I ask my student to summarize the entire story to me. 

I say, “You are now going to write a summary of this story. You are going to write what happened at the beginning of the story, what happened in the middle of the story and what happened at the end of the story. Use transition words to help you organize your summary.”

Thank you so much for reading my post today! You might also enjoy reading my previous posts:

How to Find Your Child’s Reading Level

My 5 Step Lesson Plan for Inferencing

Reading Fluency: How to Teach it


Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Comprehension Program.This program is designed to help your student learn to build reading comprehension skills with important strategies such as sequencing, predicting, visualizing, inferencing, and summarizing.    

PRIDE Reading Program Comprehension Program

What are your thoughts about reading comprehension?  Do you have anything else to share?  Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com
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