Beginning readers will learn how to recognize phrases that signal the beginning or ending of a story.

Go beyond "Once upon a time" and "The end". This collection of worksheets will help your students learn to recognize the types of words and phrases that are used at the beginning of stories, and those that are used at the end. Each page has a list of short sentences which students must label correctly. Answer keys have been provided for instructors. Note that some may be argued either way; allow students to present their case.

Fun Fact: The San Jose State University's annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, first held in 1982, invites participants to create the worst opening sentence of fictional novels.

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Print Beginning or Ending Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Once Upon a Time Worksheet

Once Upon a Time

After reading each sentence, decide whether it would more likely be found at the beginning of a story or at the end of a story.

Endings Worksheet

The End

You can also abbreviate your answers so that you can write just B or E.

Start and End Worksheet

Beginnings and Endings

The capitalization and punctuation can also help you make the decision on where it belongs.

Dots Worksheet

Dot, Dot, Dot

Go where you want to with this one. I think you know where to head with it.

More Endings Worksheet

This End Up

Write beginning or ending on the line next to the sentence.

How to Write the Beginning and Ending of a Story?

There must be a well-loved book that you have worn out reading too many times to count. Well, pick it up and read the opening line. It probably brings you to the story, and then when you get to that last page, the narrative probably melts away. The end could leave you feeling content or even just wanting some more.

The best beginning and ending act as the bookend for any great tale. So, if you are wondering how to write the beginning and ending of a story, here's how!

1. Simple Works!

The Three-Act process of a narrative is a traditional method used to write a complete story. This strategy is often used to create stories for Hollywood films. Most stories can take the basic form of a beginning, middle, and ending. This can bring shape to the film in a way that keeps the audience on their toes.

One form of story writing is the single hero tale that creates the simplest structure for you to build upon. You can choose a single hero and find a great way to introduce them into the story. You will need to add more to create a complete tale with episodic events, different characters, and more. This is built around your beginning and ending. So, when writing a story, you need to decide the ending first to build your plot around it.

2. Avoid Cliches

Some cliches can be comfortable to stick to, but they don't really pull the reader in as much as one thinks. Ending with a "And they lived happily ever after" doesn't really bring closure to the reader. It is just a cliche that won't stick with your reader for longer than a few minutes. You need to come up with something unique that doesn't work in any other stories.

3. Rely on Vivid Imagery

To push the reader to keep reading after the beginning and remember the end long after, you have to use colourful and clear language. You have to bring them into the world, allow them to feel like they are an essential part of it, and use imagery to introduce them to the main character, setting, and overarching theme. These elements can make your narrative stronger and stand out for the reader.

4. Work on Finding the Right Moment

If you are finding it difficult to write down the beginning or end, you should know that stories aren't written in chronological order. So, you can play around with the various parts of the story to see what is working the best for you. It can really pay to work on setting the stage and throwing the reading into the action for a beginning too. As for the ending, you can have the writer thinking about the character's past, present, or future.

5. Be Bold. Be Powerful.

Short but declarative sentences can add a punch to the story. You can think of them more like punctuation marks that set up the story.

Top tip: If you add the first and last line to the poster, do you think that the lines would stand alone? What do the lines say about your story? What emotions do they bring out?