Identify the Setting of a Story

Identify the Setting

Photo By: John Morgan

Identify the Setting of a Story

Where and when did this story take place?  The answer is the setting of a book or story.  It’s a simple enough question, and yet it can be tricky for children to figure out (especially young children).  You can help your child learn to identify the setting of a story by asking them some simple questions about what they are reading.


The location of a story often changes throughout the book.  As you read with your child, try to help them notice when the characters move to a new place.  Questions like “what type of building are they in?”, “whose house are they at now?”, or “what part of the country are the characters in?” help your child become more used to listening for the setting information as they read a story.  You can also ask follow up question to help them gather more information.  You could ask your child how they got to the new location, or how they knew where the characters were.


The time of the story tends to be more challenging for children to grasp.  Before just asking when the story takes place, point out details about the time to your child.  Gas lamps, horses and buggys, and dirt roads indicate a story that is set in the past.  Robots and self-driving cars could only happen in the future.  A more specific time can also be seen in the details.  Sunsets or sunrises, specific meals, holidays, and seasons are all little details that picture for us when the story takes place.

Children sometimes overlook the little details of a story, but it is those tiny facts that allow a child to identify the setting.  Asking your child questions while reading helps them learn to focus on the details. This in turn helps them to notice the setting, the when and where of the story.

How do you help your child notice the “little” details in a book?

Elementary Reading Curriculum at Smart Tutor