Activity Overview

One fun way to boil down a story is to identify the beginning, middle, and end. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that summarizes Sounder in three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. They will summarize each part and create an illustration of a key scene from each. This is a great alternate activity to a regular plot diagram!

Sounder Summary Example

Beginning: A Black sharecropper and his dog, Sounder, go hunting each night so that the family can be fed. When hunting no longer brings in enough food, the sharecropper steals ham and is caught. When the sheriff arrives to take him away, Sounder chases them, gets shot, and runs away.

Middle: Weeks later, Sounder returns, but he is in very poor shape. He can only use three of his legs, and half of his face has been mangled from being shot. The family takes care of the dog, and he becomes stronger each day. Meanwhile, they learn that father has been convicted and forced into hard labor. While looking for his father one day, a guard whacks the boy’s fingers with a piece of iron. Hurt and bleeding, the boy goes to a nearby schoolhouse to tend to his wounds. There, he meets a kind teacher. The teacher tends to his injuries, and the boy tells him of his family’s situation. The teacher offers to help by teaching him and allowing the boy to live with him. Mother agrees and the boy stays with the teacher for part of the year, while working in the fields during the summer.

End: One day, while at home helping his mother, the boy sees his father walking down the long road to the cabin. He is thin, battered, and was terribly injured in a dynamite blast, but he is home. As dog and master reunite and heal, they go hunting together one last time. When Sounder returns without his master, the boy discovers that his father has died. Shortly after father’s death, Sounder dies as well. The boy is happy that they have both found peace and are in a better place. The boy continues to learn to read and write, and has hope for a future.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Sounder that highlights the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the Beginning, Middle, and End.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit storyboard.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Parts of a Story

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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