School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 3. Use elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding


To show proficiency of the skills stated in this indicator, a reader will demonstrate an understanding of the elements of narrative texts which are the components through which a story is told. Identification of each component and its relationship to all other components in a story assists a reader in comprehension of an entire text. Thinking about all the elements in a story and determining how they fit together allows the reader to understand.

In order to understand a narrative text the student should be able to identify and explain the basic elements of the story.

  • In the beginning or exposition of a story, information is given about the characters, their location, and the situation in which they find themselves. This situation creates a story problem.
  • A sequence of events occurs as attempts are made to solve the problem. It is important for primary readers to understand the causal relationships of these events as the story develops.
  • Finally, the solution of the problem brings the story to a close.

To identify setting and the importance the setting plays in the story, a reader must first know what information to look for in a text. Setting is where and when a story takes place. Clues to setting include any of the following: time, day or dates, month, year, season, historical references, geographical names, landscape details, and weather elements. Changes in setting can signal time in the story. Setting can influence the character’s feelings and actions.

To identify main characters and explain their importance to the story, a reader must identify a character as a person, animal, or imaginary being in a narrative. Main characters are most involved in the problem in the story and are central to much of the story action. Minor characters are less important and become known to a reader through their interaction with main characters.

As primary text becomes more complex, students can identify the characters’ actions, motives, emotions, traits, and feelings. Character speech, action, thought, motivation, and reaction are interdependent and work together to create well-rounded characters. These elements make a character "real" and lend believability to the story. When characters are made "real," they, like real people, change and grow. They are called dynamic characters because of their development. Their opposite, static characters, change not at all or only marginally. Characters may reveal their attitudes and innermost thoughts through their speech and their behavior.

To identify and explain relationships between and among characters, settings, and events, a reader must discover how each element is linked. As characters interact in the story they comment about the behavior or speech of other characters. One character's comments about another character form a direct link to understanding their behavior. Connections between and among situations are established by key events and how these events fit together. A critical reader can isolate each story event to see its effect upon previous events and those that follow it as well as the effect the event exerts upon a character or characters. The setting may impact the characters’ actions and behaviors and/or events in the story. Conversely, the characters’ actions and behaviors and/or events in the story may alter the setting.