How to Identify Basic Story Elements

Here are some steps to help you identify the characters, setting and main plot of a story.

Read carefully

Begin by reading the short text carefully, paying attention to details and descriptions.


Look for the names and descriptions of individuals in the text. These are likely the main characters.

Pay attention to how the characters are introduced, their traits, actions, and relationships with other characters.

Consider whether there are primary characters (main characters) and secondary characters (supporting characters). Main characters are usually central to the plot.


Identify where and when the story takes place. Is it a specific location, such as a city, a house, a forest, or a fictional world? Is it a particular time period, like the past, present, or future?

Note any descriptive language that helps establish the atmosphere and mood of the setting.

Main plot

Determine the central conflict or problem that the characters face. This is often the core of the main plot.

Pay attention to the sequence of events and actions that occur throughout the text. What are the major events that move the story forward?

Identify the climax of the story, which is the highest point of tension or the turning point.

Look for the resolution or conclusion of the plot, where loose ends are tied up, and the outcome becomes clear.

Grade 1 story elements worksheets

We’ve created a section of worksheets where grade 1 students can practice identifying the characters/settings, plots and endings of stories.

Grade 1 story elements worksheets

Remember that the process of identifying characters, setting, and the main plot may require multiple readings and close attention to details.


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