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Story Mountain – 7 of the best story structure worksheets and resources for KS1 and KS2 creative writing

Teach primary children this simple five-stop story structure technique to help them write great fiction, with these activities, ideas and other resources...

  • Story Mountain – 7 of the best story structure worksheets and resources for KS1 and KS2 creative writing

What is Story Mountain?

Story Mountain is one story structure or story map that can be taught to children to help them with creative writing.

As the name suggests, these stories build to a big climax or obstacle that needs to be overcome, before being resolved and ended on the other side of the ‘mountain’.

The five parts are:

  • Introduction/Beginning
    This is the introduction to the world of the story and the main character(s)
  • Build up
    These are the events that interrupt this everyday world, a rising tension that leads us to…
  • Problem/Dilemma/Climax
    The main obstacle in the story, whether that’s a big baddie or monster, or just a personal problem like shyness or fear
  • Resolution
    What happens after the big climax? Did the character(s) overcome it? How have they/their situation changed?
  • Ending
    Telling or implying the moral or meaning of the story as it finishes

1 | How does Story Mountain work?

This video from Amna Tanveer walks children through Story Mountain, going over each of the five points so they can see how to use this approach to plan a story.

2 | Story Mountain Planner example

Then, if you want to see an example of Story Mountain in use, this video from Timothy Bernhardt lets you watch him outline a tale he’s called ‘Monster of Lake Motosu’.

3 | Story Mountain template

This PDF template includes space for children to write key information at each of the five points on Story Mountain, as well as some handy prompts to help them think about what to include.

Download and print here.

4 | Teach Story Mountain with Little Red Riding Hood

Introduce the concept of Story Mountain to younger pupils by applying it to a story they should all be familiar with.

This printable KS1 worksheet includes squares to cut out with the key events from Little Red Riding Hood on them. They can then place these on the second sheet, the Story Mountain image, and there’s a third sheet to record key characters, interesting adjectives and time connectives.

You can easily adapt this for other familiar stories too.

Get this resource here.

5 | Story planning – Timing a plot

Of course, giving children five basic markers of a plot alone won’t make for a good story. This resource helps them plan effectively in order to become successful writers.

It includes a set of 10 problem cards, which pupils can use to plan a short story using the Chronology Crisis worksheet to order their ideas.

You also get a PowerPoint to look at the 10 problems as a class, and teaching notes.

Find this resource here.

6 | Story writing advice – Author in your Classroom

This brilliant podcast series has been recorded especially for sharing with pupils. Each episode a well-loved children’s author shares writing tips and advice, and there are exclusive resources packs for every episode.

There’s Sam Copeland talking about creating characters, Jamie Littler discussing building fantasy worlds, Struan Murray explaining how to build suspense and more.

Check them all out here.

7 | A Story Mountain Alternative – Circular stories

In this article Rachel Clarke explains that while Story Mountain exemplifies narratives that rise to a high point before falling back to a conclusion, that the language (conflict, climax, resolution, and so on) can be challenging to teach.

Plus, as you’ll no doubt find too, not all of the stories she uses as models for writing necessarily follow the story mountain structure.

So, here she looks into how stories that go round in a circle can teach story structure in a simple and satisfying way, sparking creativity and innovative exploration of narratives.

Read her thoughts here.

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