Teaching Story Elements: Free Literacy Posters

Need to teach story elements to your Kinders? We’ve got activities, videos, games, and suggestions for teaching character, setting, and plot with your students. Includes FREE printable literacy posters. We will also be touching on fiction and non-fiction books. Click through for your story elements poster set.

Teaching literacy elements sounds so advanced for Kindergarten doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be. Younger children love stories and story time is often a favorite activity. We can use their enthusiasm for stories as an easy gateway into learning.

A good understanding about the parts of a story is an important part of any literacy program.

So, what are these story elements? In Kindergarten we are learning the basics.


  • character
  • setting
  • plot

These are the three key elements of a story

  1. Setting: The setting is where and when the story takes place. We are asking, “Where and when does a story take place?”
  2. Character: The characters are the people, animals, or creatures in a story. They move a story’s plot forward. We are asking, “Who is the story about?”
  3. Plot: The plot is the series of events in a story. At this age level, we can also identify the beginning middle and end of a story. We are asking, “What happens in the story?”
literacy posters


  • Understanding how a story is organized gives students a frame of reference to help with recall and retelling.
  • Similarly, understanding the parts that make a good story, helps students in their own writing. It provides a framework for organizing their own thoughts and ideas.


    With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
    With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.


In Kindergarten we can also start to introduce the children to different kinds of text types. For example, they quickly learn the difference between a fiction and a nonfiction book.

Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).


How about some free Literacy Posters? I can never quite find what I am looking for, so you know me… I just make it. And here it is for you for free! It contains all the basic literacy elements. Each poster has simple definitions and meaningful pictures to help cue the students!

literacy posters


So we have our literacy posters. What other resources are there?


Teaching Independent Learners have some short helpful videos for younger learners. They have videos for Characters


Events (which covers the beginning, middle and end of a story)


One of the most effective ways of teaching story elements is to incorporate the terms as you read the story.

1. To begin with, you can stop during the story to identify who is in the story and where the story takes place. At the end, you can sum everything up by saying something along the lines of, “ So in (name of the book) the characters are ….. and the setting is …..” When you have done this for a while move on to the next step.

2. Before starting a new story, invite your students to listen to the character and the setting. Read several pages. Stop and ask

  • Who is/are the character(s)
  • What is the setting?

3. When the children can answer without prompting, you can introduce the concept of the plot. Read the book and stop every few pages. Ask what happens

  • first?
  • next?
  • then?
  • at the end?

4. A helpful visual is to use the fingers on one hand to remember the parts of the story. Use this once your students are familiar with all the terms

  • The thumb is character.
  • Pointer is the setting.
  • The plot is the remaining fingers. The beginning, middle, and end.

After each story invites everyone to hold up their story hand and go through the story elements together. It won’t be long before they can do this independently.

literacy posters


A storytelling center is a fun way to revisit story elements, particularly the plot. Children will have to recall the beginning, middle, and end to retell a story. You need a copy of the story. You also need puppets or props to represent the characters. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a few extra props to represent the setting.

The Imagination Tree has lots of ideas for story baskets.

The best stories for retelling centers are folk tales. They are simple to retell. They have a definite beginning, middle, and end. Many of them also use repetitive phrases.

I would suggest that you read a story aloud a few times to the whole class first. Talk about the characters, setting and plot. Ask the class to help you retell the story with the props. Then place the book and props in the center.


Puppets make setting up a storytelling center easy. These wooden spoon puppets are low prep and simple to make. The bundle includes.

Wooden spoon puppets for retelling the

  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Three Little Pigs,
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
  • The Little Red Hen,
  • Gingerbread man
  • Jack in the Beanstalk

Download your set here


It can be helpful to identify what kind of a book you are reading. At first simply point out what kind of book you are reading

  • “This is a made-up story. It is a fiction book.”
  • “This is a book about (name topic). It is a non-fiction book.”

Then you can ask your students to identify what kind of book it is

  • “This is a made-up story. Is it fiction or non-fiction?”
  • “This is a book about (name topic). Is it fiction or non-fiction?”

Have your books separated into fiction and non-fiction? Why not place the appropriate literacy poster above each collection?

literacy posters


How do you teach story elements to your Kinders? What are your favorite activities? How will you sue the literacy posters?Please leave a comment below.

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