Problem and Solution for First Grade

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Being able to easily identify the problem and solution in a story is a foundational reading comprehension skill for first grade students.

It's an activity that can be done with every single read aloud.

It can (and should) be done whole group, in small group, with partners, in literacy stations and during independent reading.

It's also a great skill for parents to work on at home. 

Describing the problem includes:

  • Identifying the problem the character(s) is experiencing in the beginning of the story
  • Asking questions and making predictions about possible upcoming events and about possible ways to solve the problem
  • Understanding how the events and characters influence the problem throughout the story

Describing the solution includes: 

  • Confirming or revising predictions about the resolution
  • Explaining how the resolution solves the problem
  • Describing what happens to the character(s) because of the resolution

How to Introduce Problem and Solution for First Grade

If you teach lower elementary, then you know that there is SO much that goes into the comprehension of a book. First grade students are learning so much at this age and even listening comprehension requires their little brains to work so hard.

Why do I bring this up?

Because I want you to think about how hard they are ALREADY working when they are listening to a read aloud and when you use a mentor text to introduce a NEW SKILL, most students’ brains go into overload!

So what should we do instead?

Start with a non-text activity. Let me introduce you to a new kind of “slideshow”. 

I like to use interactive slideshows/powerpoints. My slideshows always follow this order: 

  • Teaching Slides: Introduces students to WHAT the skill is
  • Guided Practice: Introduces students to HOW to apply the skill
  • Interactive Practice: Gives students an example and allows them to PRACTICE the skill in an easy and concise way

Problem and Solution Activities for First Grade

After we practice the slideshow, then we practice building our problem and solution muscles with some guided and independent practice. 

I've found the best and easiest way to do this is with images of problems/solutions that my first grade students know a lot about. 

My students do this Problem and Solution activity (seen on the right). We do one together as a class for guided practice. 

For this activity, students must correctly match the problem and solution. Then I have students write about the problem and solution with an emphasis on why the solution actually works for this problem.

After we do this activity together, it goes into their stations for Guided Reading. 

The best part about this activity is that you can leave it out for several weeks because each time students can choose a new set of pictures! 

Digital Problem and Solution Activities for First Grade

Whether you are teaching virtually (thanks alot COVID) or in the classroom, our students are primed now more than ever to complete activities digitally. 

The Problem and Solution station activity I just showed you is available digitally also!

You can read more about how to integrate Digital Comprehension Tools here. 

Problem and Solution Activities for First Grade

All of the activities that you found in this post, both printable and digital, can be found in my Problem and Solution Bundle here.

You can save up to 20% by purchasing the items together, but you can also purchase individual items to better fit your needs!

Best Books for Problem and Solution

**You can use the recording sheet from the Problem and Solution station with all of these read alouds!

More First Grade Favorites

Problem and Solution Blog Post
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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!