Structure of stories

Use the structure of stories resource to help your pupils think about the main elements of a story: exposition, development, climax, falling action and resolution. All stories will have these elements, but not always in this order.

Structural focus What is happening at this point in the plot?

1. Exposition (introduction)

The opening of the story – introduction to characters and setting.

2. Development (rising action/complication)

You learn more about the characters. A series of events that complicate matters for/disrupts the lives of your characters, increasing tension or suspense.

3. Climax/crisis/complication

The key moment/big showdown where your character encounters their enemy/opposition and will either fail or succeed.

4. Falling action

A series of events that occur after the climax and lead to the end of the story.

5. Resolution/Denouement

The end of the story where the problem is resolved and order is restored (or not, depending on your story)

Working with structure

The working with structure activity includes a jumbled summary of the plot of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Working in pairs or individually, ask your pupils to organise it using the five stages of narrative.

Planning with pictures

Ask pupils to think about their story structure by planning with pictures.  Pupils should use a story they are familiar with from a novel or a film and create a storyboard illustrating the key stages of the plot. The order of events in the final version may not be the same order as events happen.

[Planning with pictures Download]

Exploring structure

Read Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl.

This story is useful to explore structure, including the introduction and development of character. Based on one of the Dahl stories, ask your pupils to create a storyboard using the five stages: exposition, development, climax, falling action and resolution. They can use pictures or words, or a combination of both to depict the story.

Encourage your pupils to try using to complete this activity using ICT. Alternatively, you could give your pupils an editable offline storyboard:

There are many animation apps and websites that your pupils could use to make an animated version of the story. Ask your pupils to work in pairs or small groups to create a simple animation of a story of their choice, using collaborative ICT such as Office365 or Google Classroom. Ask your pupils to QR (quick response) code the animations, so that you can display the codes in your classroom for them to access using their devices.

Structuring with Sequence Blocks

Ask your pupils to structure stories using sequenced blocks.  See the Structuring with sequence blocks resource.


136.05 KB - uploaded 08-11-2017
Structuring with sequence blocks
230 KB - uploaded 08-11-2017