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Beginning, Middle and End (BME): Why is it so tricky!? Tips for teaching and tackling BME.

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Do you have students who struggle with identifying beginning, middle and end in stories? Or telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end? Don't worry, you are not alone!

As early as kindergarten, curriculums require students to retell stories and answer questions about the beginning, middle and end of a story.

But identifying the beginning, middle and end of stories can be tricky!


One reason is because the "boundaries" which constitute beginning, middle, and end are often vague and ambiguous. The lack of clear delineation between beginning, middle and end makes identifying each part difficult, even for typically developing students!

So what can you do?

My favorite way to effectively address this problem is to...

Explicitly teach a story schema using story grammar FIRST!



1) Story grammar explicitly defines the parts and chronology of a story.

2) Story grammar can help delineate boundaries between the beginning, middle and end.


While there is not necessarily a "right or wrong" way to mark the beginning, middle and end, I typically use the problem/initiating emotion to signal the transition from the beginning to the middle.

The middle is typically constituted by the attempt(s) to fix the problem and the associated consequences.

The transition to the end is marked by the result or "consequence" of the successful or final attempt to fix the problem. This leads to the ending and end feeling.

Story plot maps, which are frequently used as part of classroom curriculums, can also be used with learned story grammar help further conceptualize beginning, middle and end.

Systematically support story comprehension, retell and generation with BME x Story Grammar Graphic Organizers.

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