Picture Books to Teach Sequencing in the Classroom

Picture Books to Teach Sequencing in the Classroom

Use these picture books to teach sequencing by identifying the beginning, middle and end of a story, and retelling the events in the correct order. This skill also helps your students follow a set of instructions in order to accomplish a task.

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What is Sequencing and Why is it Important?

Sequencing breaks down an event or a task into simple steps, in a specific order. Putting events and tasks in logical order helps others follow along and fully understand the text or complete a task successfully.

The Benefits of Teaching Sequencing

  • retelling events so others understand the story and plot
  • improving prediction skills because of increased understanding of the plot structure.
  • organising story events and other information and ideas.
  • follow a set of instructions in order to accomplish a task.
  • organising ideas when writing independently.
  • understanding of how a text is structured.

Why Use Picture Books to Teach Sequencing?

The short nature of picture books supports teaching sequencing. Story events will be clearer or more obvious than in longer books. The illustrations will also help your students recall events and their order.

Sequencing involves identifying the beginning, middle and end of a story and retelling the story events in the correct order. The ability to sequence depends on your student’s comprehension of the book they are reading.

Identify different parts of a story so you know they have comprehended what they have read.

Teaching Sequencing Prompts and Phrases

Encourage your students to use first, then, next, finally/last, when sequencing a story. They are important transition or signal words and help your students think about the order of events.

When using books to teach sequencing, there are words and phrases that will support your students' structural understanding. They include:

Beginning: In the beginning, First of all, Once upon a time, Once there was

Middle: Meanwhile, After that, Suddenly

End: In the end, Finally, After all

Picture Books to Teach 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, Marco, wants to answer an important question, “What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?” When he steps aboard a magnificent ship adorned with antlers, he is filled with answers. Read to discuss questioning, curiosity, overcoming fears, and making friends.

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.

A Beach Tail by Karen P. Williams

Gregory uses the sandy beach as a canvas for his creativity, drawing a lion's tail that winds through various objects. Each item incorporated into his artwork is a breadcrumb on his adventure, guiding him back safely to his father when he strays too far.

A Beach Tail sparks discussions about creativity, curiosity, and exploration. It prompts your readers to embrace curiosity, showcasing how our creative efforts can lead us on fascinating journeys.

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 start typing letters demanding electric blankets. Things escalate quickly 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' importance, communication's power, and the essence of compromise.

The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt

When a special tree becomes sick the animals and humans who love the tree come together to save it. Promotes nature, community and problem-solvers.

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 empty apartment in Snooty Towers. He tastes some food, but it is too soggy or too crunchy. He sits on the cat and bursts a beanbag chair. When the family return, the bear recognises the mummy. It is Goldilocks all grown up! Compare and contrast with the original Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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.

Journey by Aaron Becker

A lonely girl discovers a magic red marker and creates a door that transports her into an enchanting world filled with wondrous landscapes and adventure. She witnesses an evil emperor capture a majestic bird. She outsmarts the emperor's army with bravery and resourcefulness to free the bird. 

The girl's journey inspires courage in facing challenges, persistence in pursuing goals, and thinking outside the box to overcome obstacles.

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood

King Bidgood enjoys having a bath so much he won’t get out. His page calls upon the court for help. Nothing works, so while everyone is despairing of what to do the page plugs the plug! Use to teach sequencing, creative thinking, problem & solution and prediction.