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Picture Books to Teach Sequencing: Teaching Tips and Books

Use these picture books to teach sequencing by identifying a story’s beginning, middle, and end and retelling the events in the correct order. In addition to exploring the benefits of using picture books to sequence, there is a list of questions you can use in the classroom.

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Understanding Sequencing and its Significance

Students sharpen their ability to sequence events and deepen their comprehension and narrative skills by dissecting stories’ beginning, middle, and end. This skill enriches their learning, making them better readers, writers, and thinkers.

Sequencing breaks down complex events or tasks into manageable steps arranged in a logical sequence. This skill helps students to grasp narratives fully and complete tasks with precision.

Three children focusing on colorful books to teach sequencing at a classroom table.

Why Does Sequencing Matter?

  • Clarifies Narratives: Helps students recount events accurately, enhancing story understanding.
  • Boosts Predictive Abilities: Enhances plot comprehension, aiding in prediction.
  • Enhances Organisation: Aids in structuring narratives and ideas orally and in writing.
  • Facilitates Task Completion: Essential for following instructions accurately.
  • Improves Writing Skills: Supports organising thoughts logically when writing independently.
  • Deepens Textual Understanding: Promotes awareness of textual structure.

The Benefits of Picture Books for Sequencing

With their concise format and vivid illustrations, picture books are ideal for teaching sequencing. 

They make story events straightforward and memorable, aiding in recalling and ordering events and strengthening comprehension and narrative skills. The illustrations help your students recall events and their order.

Key Phrases for Teaching Sequencing

  • Beginning: In the beginning, First of all, Once upon a time
  • Middle: Meanwhile, After that, Suddenly
  • End: In the end, Finally, After all

These cues reinforce the structure of narratives and facilitate deeper engagement with the text.

A young girl with blonde hair reading a book to teach sequencing in a classroom, with other children around her.

Questions to Pair with Picture Books to Teach Sequencing

  • What happened first?
  • List the main events in the order they happened.
  • How did [specific event] lead to [next event]?
  • What might have happened if [specific event] didn’t occur?
  • Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in this order?
  • Find a part of the story where the sequence of events is particularly important. Why is the order important here?
  • If you could change the order of events, how would you rearrange them? Why?
  • How do the illustrations help you understand the sequence of events?
  • What sequence of events leads to the main problem or conflict being resolved?
  • If you were telling this story, would you add any events? What would they be, and where would they fit in the sequence?
  • Which event was the turning point of the story? How did things change after that?
  • Find an event that foreshadows a later event. How does this affect your understanding or anticipation of what happens next?


Recommended Picture Books for Sequencing

An Island Grows by Lola M. Schaefer

An Island Grows describes the formation of an island. It begins with the build-up of red-hot magma under the ocean, eventually breaking the water’s surface to form land teeming with life over time. The book illustrated the cycle of nature and the cause and effect relationship inherent in Earth’s formation processes.

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

A curious fox named Marco wants to answer an important question: “What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?” When he embarks on a nautical adventure with a crew of deer and pigeons. Marco finds answers on his journey of friendship and discovery.

The Antlered Ship promotes discussions on curiosity, courage, companionship, the value of asking questions, and the joy of exploration.

A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

This is the first of two picture books to teach sequencing by David Shannon. Camilla Cream loves lima beans but won’t eat them because her friends hate them. A mysterious illness causes her to become what others think she should be. Only when she embraces her true self does she recover.

A Bad Case of the Stripes serves as a reminder that individuality should be celebrated and that personal growth stems from self-acceptance and the courage to resist societal pressures.

Black and White by David Macaulay

Read four seemingly unconnected stories: a boy on a train journey to reunite with his parents, a robber hiding among a herd of cattle, absorbed newspaper readers at a train station, and mysterious interactions that halt the train. As these narratives interconnect in unexpected ways, a fifth story is created.

Black and White explores interconnectedness, imagination, and seeing the bigger picture, and it challenges the readers to piece together the connections between the different narratives.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

A Chair for My Mother illuminates the power of love, family, and community even in the most challenging times. Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother lose their home to a devastating fire.

The book gives us a glimpse into poverty, the importance of saving money, the impact of community kindness and generosity, and the power of perseverance, even in the face of adversity.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

When Farmer Brown’s cows stumble upon a typewriter, they type letters demanding electric blankets. Things escalate as the cows strike, and Duck is the mediator. But the peace doesn’t last long when the ducks have their own demands!

Click, Clack, Moo story promotes dialogue about fair negotiations, communication’s power, and compromise.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Dragons may love tacos but hate spicy salsa. A boy discovers this peculiarity and hosts a taco party for his dragon friends. The party takes an unexpected turn when the salsa, much to the dragons’ dismay, turns out to be spicy, leading to a chaotic and fiery mess.

Dragons Love Tacos explores the concepts of problem-solving, cause and effect, and the importance of careful planning and reading labels!

The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt

Animals gather around a special tree in the forest. They play and share memories there, but humans want to cut it down. The animals unite to save the tree and preserve its legacy as a forever spot for gatherings and new memories.

The Forever Tree explores collaboration, compromise, the significance of nature and community spaces, and the impact of human actions on the environment.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

As a boy grows, a tree generously fulfils his needs at every stage of life, reminding us of the profound love and selflessness that nature embodies. Only in his later years does the boy realise the depth of the tree’s generosity, prompting feelings of gratitude and appreciation.

The Giving Tree sparks discussions on appreciation, selfishness, forgiveness, generosity, responsible decision-making and personification.

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

A bear takes shelter in an apartment in Snooty Towers. The food is too soggy or too crunchy. He sits on the cat and bursts a beanbag chair. When the family returns, the bear recognises the mummy. It is Goldilocks all grown up.

Goldilocks and Just One Bear promotes discussions on fractured fairy tales, unfamiliar environments, relationships despite time and change, role reversal, and the unexpected outcomes of curiosity.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

This is the first of two picture books to teach sequencing by Julia Donaldson. A mouse creates a mythical creature called ‘The Gruffalo’ to outsmart predators and avoid becoming their meal. To his surprise, the Gruffalo turns out to be real! However, the quick-thinking mouse manages to trick the Gruffalo and save himself.

The Gruffalo sparks conversations about quick thinking, creativity, courage, navigating challenging situations, honesty, and problem-solving.

I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn

Every Tuesday a girl wears her “favoritest” dress. As she grows, the dress becomes too short, so her mother transforms the dress into other items of clothing.

I Had a Favorite Dress promotes discussions on creativity, adaptability in the face of change, personal growth, and emotional attachment to cherished possessions.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

A seemingly simple request from a mouse for a cookie spirals into a cascade of related actions. Each subsequent event directly leads to the next. This sequence continues throughout the story, exploring the concept of cause and effect.

It Fell from the Sky by The Fan Brothers

When an object plummets from the sky, it intrigues the insects. An opportunistic spider capitalizes on the event, charging fees for viewing the spectacle. As interest wanes, the spider learns about community, supply, and demand.

It Fell From the Sky inspires discussions on community, integrity, selfishness, supply and demand, entrepreneurship and capitalism.

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood

This is the first of two picture books to teach sequencing by Audrey Woods. King Bidgood refuses to get out of his bathtub. His courtiers try inventive methods to lure him out, but the king remains in the bath. Declaring he will do all his kingly duties in the tub, the page boy uses a clever solution to get him out.

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub explores the dynamics of power and responsibility, creative problem solving, persistence, clever thinking, and sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

A young boy is brimming with excitement and confidence as he embarks on his first day of Kindergarten. He showcases healthy self-esteem as he eagerly engages with new friends and experiences.

The King of Kindergarten encourages students to approach new beginnings with confidence and enthusiasm, helping to foster a positive attitude towards school life.