The Best Coaster in Town!

Best Roller CoasterWe’ve mentioned all the fun we’re having during Our Morning Basket time. Good literature, Bible time, tea, and worship always make for a beautiful start to our day. After sharing our family’s take on this lovely portion of our routine, a few readers had questions about our addition of The Story Coaster. What exactly is a ‘Story Coaster’? Great question!

What is a Story Coaster? The story coaster is a fun way of taking our children through basic elements of literature: exposition, rising action, climax, denouement, and critical reaction. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss ideas such as suspended disbelief, plot holes, and (our personal favorite) the tunnel of badly written love. The Story Coaster is a clever drawing created by Grant Snider, featured in the NY Times Book Review and available for purchase in poster form.

How do we use the Story Coaster? In our homeschooling routine, we use The Story Coaster at the finish of every fictional read completed during our morning basket time. I generally lead with the exposition. “This is what started our literary adventure!” Then, I prompt the kiddos to continue on by tossing out other basic elements. “What was our rising action?” “Who spotted the climax?” “Was the falling action a little too quick for your taste, or did you find it drawn out?” Denouement is a breeze, while Critical Reaction often takes a few moments to thoroughly digest and discuss. For added fun, we then point out other spots we enjoyed along the way. Sometimes the deep back story was intriguing, while suspended disbelief and (as I mentioned a moment ago) the tunnel of badly written love are always pointed out. At times there is an unresolved plot or a red herring. Extraneous scenery and unreliable narrators are entirely frustrating. But, jarring twists make it all worth while!


Why do we use the Story Coaster? Instead of merely asking my children if they liked the story and getting a one word answer, I am loving the story coaster. Not only do I discover what my children enjoyed about the book – and what they didn’t – I also have the opportunity to ensure they fully understood the author’s message. As an added bonus, my children are learning key literary terms such as exposition and denouement (love that word!). They are being instructed in the key points to any good story, and how to become better writers.

Just another wonderful resource I wish we had found years ago, The Story Coaster is now a favorite in our morning basket. I don’t have to push my kids to ‘ride’ the coaster and share plot points. Instead, we eagerly jump on and laugh our way through the adventure.

We can’t wait to start our January reads!

🔔Time to Chime In: Share your favorite ‘tunnel of badly written love’. There are some doozies!

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5 thoughts on “The Best Coaster in Town!

  1. This is a great poster–thanks for sharing it! Thanks also for a book you mentioned a while back, Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing. I borrowed it from the library and found it useful enough to buy. Happy reading and writing!


  2. Pingback: Getting the Most From Our Reads | A Homeschool Mom

  3. Pingback: Getting the Most From Our Reads | A Homeschool Mom

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