Many stories have a plot structure that we can graph. It looks like a triangle. A conflict is introduced, tension rises, a major change occurs. This major change is called the climax. After the climax the tension falls. The protagonist, or main character, may face a final moment of suspense. Then the story is resolved.
This page features a bunch of little stories that I wrote to help teach students this story structure. These are concise little tales that can be read in a few minutes and easily graphed on the story structure triangle. They will give students the ground work to understand how story structure affects momentum and mood. Plot structure can be more complicated than a simple triangle, but they don’t have to be. I hope that these free story structure worksheets will help students learn to identify narrative structure.
Common Core State Standards Related to Story Structure
Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Story Structure
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5 – Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
ELA Standards: Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.5 – Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.5 – Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.5 – Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.5 – Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5 – Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.5 – Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5 – Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5 – Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5 – Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.