Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

Teaching Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

I have found that teaching my students that they may order nonfiction texts in three different ways – chronological, sequential, and consecutive order – really helps their comprehension of the material.

Before you delve into the post, you may wish to download the organizers and activities for this post here.

FREE Sequencing Writing Activity
FREE Sequencing Writing Activity


FREE Sequencing Writing Activity
FREE Sequencing Writing Activity


Activity #1 – Go Over Definitions for Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

Teaching Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order Anchor Chart

Here is how I cover the three ordering topics. You will find these examples and definitions in the handout.

Get Printables for these Ideas

Chronological Order

Teaching Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

Chronological order usually refers to how things happen in order of time. The segments of time may go forward or backward. This pattern works well when telling a story. People tell historical events in chronological order. Also explaining how something happens or works is in chronological order. Chronological order may recount a series of events that happened over time. Chronological order organizes events from one point in time to another.

Online Activities to Help Teach Chronological Order

Sequential Order


Teaching Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

Sequential order usually refers to steps in a process or event. This pattern works well when using step-by-step directions. Owner’s manuals and cookbooks use this pattern. Sequential order may show how to do something.

Online Activities to Help Teach Sequential Order

Consecutive Order


Teaching Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order

Consecutive order means one after the other. This may be a period of time such as days. Any regular time intervals such as each year, each month, and so on are consecutive over. Consecutive order often refers to numbers.

An example of consecutive numbers would be 1, 2, 3 or 9, 10, 11. Consecutive order is not a writing style. Think Back-to-Back. Example: For three consecutive years, the groundhog predicted an early spring.

Online Activities to Help Teach Consecutive Order

This fun event will be sure to help your students remember the meaning of consecutive order. 

Teacher Wears Same Outfit in 40 Consecutive Yearbook Photos

Activity #2 – Chronological, Sequential, and Consecutive Order Organizers

FREE Sequencing Writing Activity

These three printable organizers may be used with any topic. For students to really understand the three types of ordering information, I recommend taking one topic and having students complete each organizer on the specified topic.

For Example

Use the topic of horses.

For writing a paragraph using chronological order, students could create a timeline of the relationship between horses and men. To begin, students could start by discussing how the Mesopotamians used horses to pull chariots in 2400 BCE. Students then move forward in time listing important events. One could be how the  Spanish brought horses to America.

Students could write a sequential order paragraph by listing the steps for grooming a horse.

An example of writing a consecutive-order paragraph could be telling about Calvin Borsel. Borsel is a horse who won 3 out of 4 consecutive  Kentucky Derbys.

Activity #3 – Sequencing Activity


  1. First, print the cards onto cardstock or heavy-weight paper. Laminate for repeated use.
  2. Next, place students into small groups or with partners.
  3. Provide each group with one set of cards.
  4. Each student will randomly order the cards. Next students write a paragraph describing or giving information about what is taking place. [Make sure each student in the pair or group uses a different sequencing order.]
  5. If students have access to laptops, iPads, or a computer lab; this can turn into a mini-research project.
  6. Next, students exchange completed paragraphs.
  7. Finally, students read their peers’ paragraphs and order the cards based on the information in the paragraphs.

Example #1

Sequencing Activity

Did you know that in 2011, 66.8% of the paper consumed in the United States was recycled? By placing the paper in curbside or drop-off recycling bins, trucks will not haul the paper to land fields. Instead, paper is transported to recycling centers. By recycling one ton of paper we save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 463 gallons of oil.

Example #2 

Sequencing Activity

After you put paper in the recycling bin, it is sorted into different grades. The grade depends on the fiber length. Each time paper is recycled, the fibers become shorter. Most paper can be recycled seven times before the fibers become too short. After the paper is sorted, it is transported to paper mills for processing. The amount of paper recovered is an average of 338 pounds for each person living in the United States. This saves many trees.


If you missed the link above for the organizers and activities for this post, here it is again.

Activity #4 – Sequencing Blog Posts on Book Units Teacher

Teaching Sequencing with Songs

Three Fun Activities to Help Teach Sequencing


See the product that inspired this post.

Purchase Text Structures - Sequencing Lessons and Activities at Teachers Pay Teachers

This unit contains 6 lessons for recognizing types of sequences to writing a process essay. All lessons and activities are provided in both digital and printable formats. 


Check out the other posts in this series by clicking on the buttons below.

FREE Sequencing Writing Activity
Cause and Effect


Compare and Contrast
Problems and Solutions


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1 comment

    • darius on June 6, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Hi, I check your blogs like every week. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

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