Activity Overview

A good way to help your students understand the book as a whole is to have them summarize each chapter first. Creating a summary storyboard for each chapter will help the students determine the importance and visualize the chapter explicitly. Then, as a class, or in groups, the students can decide on an overall summary of the book, and how they think the characters and the plot evolved.

In this activity, students will work independently or in groups. Each group/student will be assigned a specific chapter to work on. Students will review the chapter and decide on the beginning, middle, and end. They will choose the major moments that affect the plot and the outcome of the story.

Example Summary: Chapter 1: The Pudding Like a Night on the Sea


Julian and his brother, Huey, watch in awe, as their father makes a delicious pudding for their mother. They help whenever he directs them.


The father goes for a nap, and tells the boys to leave the pudding alone. As the boys are guarding the pudding, Huey decides to stick his finger in and taste it. Then Julian does the same. They eventually end up eating almost the whole pudding! They run and hide under their bed.


The father wakes up and finds out the boys ate the pudding! He pulls them from under the bed and says he is going to punish them. He has the boys make the pudding again, all by themselves. The boys learn that making the pudding is really hard work.

Example Summary: Chapter 2: Because of Figs


One birthday, Julian is given his own fig tree. His dad tells him it will "grow as fast as you grow". They plant it and it starts to grow. Julian becomes upset that the tree is growing, but he is not.


Julian started eating the leaves on the fig tree in hopes to grow. Every time a new leaf came, he ate it. Soon, Julian was growing. The tree did not grow for two more years, even though the Julian's dad tried everything to get it to grow. His dad wanted to get rid of this tree and get a new one. Julian refused.


Julian realizes that the tree is not growing because he is eating the leaves. He apologizes to the tree and stops eating the leaves. He dreams that with all the new leaves, his tree will grow as big as the house.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of a chapter in The Stories Julian Tells.

  1. Make a picture that shows the beginning of the chapter.
  2. Make a picture that shows the middle of the chapter.
  3. Make a picture that shows the end of the chapter.
  4. Write a sentence under each picture.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/2/1] Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/2/5] Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/2/7] Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.


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

Sequence of Events Rubric
Create a storyboard that shows a sequence of events. Below each cell, type in a description about the importance of that part of the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Each of the cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
One cell is out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or two or more cells are out of order.
Cells include images that accurately show events in the story and do not get in the way of understanding.
Most images show the events of the story, but some are incorrect.
The images are unclear or do not make sense with the story.
Descriptions match the images and show the change over time.
Descriptions do not always match the images or mention the importance of the event.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is very difficult to understand.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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