Summarizing a Nontraditional Story: Determining the Problem, Climax, and Solution of a Story

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT to identify the conflict, climax and solution of a story.

Big Idea

Students learn specific ways to write summaries with problem, climax, and solution.


5 minutes

This day 3 of a lesson on summaries. Students have heard and identified story elements of two different but similar fairy tale stories from different cultures. I chose Cinderella as the story we are going to focus on because so many students know the story by heart and will not have any difficulty identifying story elements and describing the plot. However, today I want to mix it up and challenge them to look even closer at the story.

I tell them in the lesson they are going to hear another story but this time things are a little different and therefore, they will have to look very closely at the story elements.


20 minutes

The title of the book is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and it is a play on the traditional story of a girl becoming a princess and being saved by the prince.

I begin to read the story but stop at the point where the story takes a turn, which in this book is pretty early. 

I ask the students what they notice so far. They are able to describe some of the elements and begin to wonder about the conflict.

I continue reading and remind them to listen closely for the conflict, climax, and resolution.

As I'm reading, they can be taking notes.


5 minutes

At the end of the read aloud and after students have taken notes, I facilitate a class discussion and ask students to share what they think are each part of the summary. This activity gives students another chance to work with a book to determine the conflict, climax and resolution which are still a new skill that students are learning to focus on and develop. We then have a discussion on how we find out or determine which one is the conflict, climax, and resolution. All three parts have to be connected to each other. By having a class conversation, I can assess how the class is doing as a whole and I can address any common misunderstanding.

I remind them that as they read any book of their choice, they should be thinking about the conflict, climax and resolution of the story.