Sequencing Activities To Help Students Retell Simple Stories

sequencing activity

Sequencing activities give students an opportunity to identify logical patterns, paraphrase and retell, and most importantly, understand what they are reading.

These ideas and activities can help students to understand the sequence of events.

Classroom Mingle

sequencing activity

Read a short story to the class.  Write out a list of events that happened in the story.  Make multiple copies of sequence strips to hand out to the students.  It is okay if there are many students who receive the same strips; there can be many groups completing the activity at the same time. Students move about the classroom in search of the other parts of the story.

When a group believes they have located all sequencing strips belonging to the story, they should decide together which order they follow. Then, they arrange themselves in an appropriate line to show sequence. When all students have joined a group and ordered themselves logically, ask them to read their stories aloud.

Use Images to Retell

sequencing stories pictures

Pictures help support comprehension and memory, especially when there are many steps to remember. You can quickly sketch your own images or ask students to create their own.

Students can match your sketches to sentences in the story. They should retell the story by using only the pictures as reference.

If learners create their own drawings, using the story for support (or creating an entirely new story!), they can cut out the images, mix them up, and ask classmates to order them.

Students can create new or remembered sentences without the aid of the story to either orally (re)tell or (re)write it.

Cut and Paste Sentences

sequencing activity

Instead of using pictures, older students can rearrange sentence strips to retell a story.  You can give them 4 or 5 sentences out of order and have them glue them onto a blank paper in the correct sequence.


Choose the same number of students as sequence strips from the story. Present either the story or sequence strips only, orally, or visually, or both. Assign a sequence strip to each person. They do not share the sentence with the class but are required to act out the information.

Allow each student to perform their part of the story, and afterwards, encourage the class to guess which part they are performing. Classmates will show the number of the sequence they believe is being performed, using their fingers to prompt the performers to arrange themselves in the correct order.

Next, ask each performer to share their sequence strip, while standing in a line.

Finally, ask a student to retell the story and as they do the performers will act it out!  What fun!

Order Events by Number

sequencing reading comprehension passages

Find some short paragraphs like the ones above and have students practice ordering the events by numbering them.  You don't need to include all the events.

sequencing activity

Use longer, full page stories for students who are already comfortable sequencing, and shorter paragraphs for those who are still learning.

Extend the Story

Why not have students continue the story? They can do this by adding detail, furthering the narrative, or rewriting it to relate to their personal lives. For example, students may choose to change the details of a birthday sequencing activity to reflect their own birthday party activities. They can either write or orally present their extension.

If students are writing, they can create their own sequence strips, cut them out, and ask classmates to put them in the right order. Encourage follow-up questions about the new narrative or details.

Do you like these suggestions? Try them out using any sequence activity or check out my sequencing resources in my TPT store!