What’s Your Problem? Teaching Problem and Solution

Hi Friends! I am back with another post about story elements (read about character here and here)!

Watch my Facebook Live video about this topic here.

This week we were focusing on problem and solution, and my students really seemed to “get” it, so I’m excited to share our anchor charts, book ideas and activities that we used!

Here is the anchor chart that I created to help my students understand what problem and solution mean.

Problem and Solution Anchor Chart

I really wanted my students to understand that the problem and solution must fit together like a puzzle. We emphasized that all week long because it not only helped them understand the problems and solutions in the stories we read, but also because it will help improve their writing skills. As we’ve been learning about our story elements, we’ve also focused on how we use them in our writing as well.

The memory motions we used for problem and solution were very simple. We did a sad face and a thumbs down for problem and a big smile and a thumbs up for solution.

This week was a 4 day week (yay!), so we read a read aloud together everyday, did a quick problem and solution match, and then charted the problem and solution.

Here are the books we read.


Unloveable is a FANTASTIC story to introduce problem and solution because the students can really connect with it. Plus, the main character is adorable. This is the story of Alfred the pug. None of the other animals like Alfred, but in the end he meets a friend who loves him for him. Every kid has had someone treat them unfairly, so they easily “get” the problem and solution. My girls squealed on almost every page and kept saying “He’s SO cute!” 🙂


Aaron’s Hair is a weird story, but that’s why kids tend to love it so much. Aaron grows out his hair to look like his dad, but then his long hair become a pain. He shouts “Hair I hate you!” and his hair hops off his head and runs away! Aaron chases his hair all around town, but can’t catch it. Once he realizes he actually likes his hair, his hair jumps back on his head. 🙂 Warning: you WILL have your class in stitches with this one, but again, it has a very clear problem and solution.


Crazy Hair Day is my all time favorite book for problem and solution (which is a good thing because I was observed during this lesson). Stanley is all ready for crazy hair day. He goes all out with gel, rubber bands, and Halloween hair dye… then he gets to school and realizes it’s actually picture day! Oops! Luckily, his class comes to the rescue in a cute and fun way.

After a few days of tracking our problems and solutions together, I had my students bring their clipboards to the carpet to record the problem and solution in the story as we read. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this technique (click here to read more) but it’s a great way to have every student engaged during a read aloud (and also to assess if they’re with you).

Here’s the organizer they filled out. Almost every students was able to correctly explain the problem and solution in the story.

Problem and Solution Example 1


I’m sure you’ve read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. If not, it’s a must read! Sylvester finds a magic, red pebble that allows him to wish for anything he wants. On his way home to show his parents, he runs into a lion, gets scared, and wishes to be a rock! He’s stuck as a rock for months and months until luckily his parents happen to have a picnic on him. In the end, his family learns a lesson about what really matters in life. This is also a great book to discuss how characters react to problems (which is in the 2nd grade common core standards).

As I mentioned, we charted our problems and solutions all week long.

Problem and Solution Chart It

Then on Thursday, I had my students pick a fiction book from their book boxes and chart their own problem and solution. They did a fantastic job!

Problem and Solution Example 2

Click the picture below the grab the matching cards and graphic organizers I used during these lessons for free in my TpT store.


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Primary Paradise

Primary Paradise

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing with others and look forward to sharing my ideas with you!

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