Story Elements
Who, What, Where, When, Why?


Ask simple questions about the story and make connections between the pictures and words.

Tip: “Which character do you like and why?” and, “What colour are they?” 



Ask detailed questions about who the story is about, and what happened in the beginning, middle, and end.

Tip: “What are the names of the characters?” and, “What are they trying to do on this page?”


Ask questions that encourage your child to think about different possible outcomes for the story. 

Tip: “What would the end of the story be if…?” or, “How would you feel if…?”

Reference: Shanahan, T., Callison, K., Carriere, C., Duke, N. K., Pearson, P. D., Schatschneider, C., & Torgesen, J. (2010). Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade: IES Practice Guide. NCEE 2010-4038. What Works Clearinghouse. Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, S. (1997). Character Perspective Charting: Helping Children to Develop a More Complete Conception of Story. The Reading Teacher, 50(8), 668-677. Young, C., Mohr, K. A. J., & Rasinski, T. (2015). Reading Together: A successful reading fluency intervention. Literacy Research and Instruction, 54(1), 67–81.

(L3.4) Story Elements.PNG

Why is this important?

Talking about different parts of a story helps children understand and appreciate the overall meaning of the text.

Looking for more information?

Check out our printable Reading Comprehension Prompts!