Story Settings: When a Story Takes Place

Contributor: Kim Trexler. Lesson ID: 10425

Being a Setting Snoop helps you understand and remember stories! Snoops look for clues like weather and locations for the setting. Read fun books and choose a clever activity to learn about settings!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
PreK/K, Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Charles Schulz's comic strip character, Snoopy, always began his novels with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night." He knew that the right setting is vital to a good story!

Understanding the concept of setting — the where and when of a story — will help you read with purpose and recall details.

If you have not completed the first Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar, you may want to do so first.

Let's review how to determine where a story takes place.

We look at pictures and text clues in the story to determine where a story took place.

For example, in the fairy tale The Three Little Pigs, the story takes place in the three houses.

three little pig houses

Another part of the setting answers the question, "When does the story take place?"

You can tell when the story takes place by noticing the weather, the plants, and the clothes people are wearing.

If it's a sunny day, and everyone's hot and thirsty, it's probably summer:

dog drinking water

The color of a tree's leaves can often tell which season it is:

a tree in different seasons

And we know that people wear different clothes in the fall than they do in the spring, summer, or winter:

mom and daughter at the park

Watch the animated read-aloud, below, of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

If you have this book, go and get it now! If not, you can find it at your library the next time you go.

As you watch and listen, pay attention to the clues that let you know the setting of the story.

The Snowy Day Read-aloud, an animated story from the EJK Foundation:

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  • What time of year does this story take place?

We know it takes place in winter, because:

  • The characters in the book are wearing sweaters, hats, and warm clothes, so it must be cold outside.
  • The book is about a snowy day, and it only snows in the winter.

Now, you know the when of the setting.

  • Where does this story take place?

Use pictures and text clues to answer this question.

Then move on to the Got It? page to check your answer!

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