Activity Types: Cumulative Stories


Getting "Handy" in the classroom with technology integration

What are Cumulative Stories?
A cumulative story is a story that is created by more than one person. The process begins with one person writing a paragraph or so to start the story. The story is then passed to another person who continues the story for another paragraph or two. Others continue the story, but the last person must conclude the story.

Advantages for use in the classroom:

  • Excellent writing practice for thinking through the beginning, middle, and end of a story narrative.
  • Can be used in small group activities
  • Students can be taught how to create their own “cumulative stories"


  • Excellent writing practice, but may not have much application to authentic writing
  • These are short activities

Example of class activity called "Traveling with Flat Stanley"

Your Task:
Flat Stanley is a character from the book by Jeff Brown. Flat Stanley is a boy who was flattened when a chalkboard fell on him. He has many adventures with his new “svelte” size. For example, one day, his friend from California called him to come and visit him, but his parents told him it was too expensive to fly to California. However, Flat Stanley’s dad came home from work one day with a giant envelope—just the size for Flat Stanley. They addressed the envelope to the friend in California, slipped Flat Stanley inside with a carton of milk and a sandwich, and shipped him off to California! A few days later, he returned with wonderful tales of his adventures in California. If Flat Stanley had been shipped in an envelope to visit you, what wonderful sights or places would you show him? You are to write a brief paragraph about the adventures Flat Stanley would have with you and then share with another person. That person will add the adventures s/he has had with Flat Stanley to your story. When finished, everyone in your group will have created an adventure in their hometown for Flat Stanley.

See example of Flat Stanley story!

Also see the Official Flat Stanley web site!

Copyright 2002-2011 Handy4Class Project

Candace Figg, PhD
Brock University
Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Department
500 Glenridge, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
(905.688.5550, x5347)

Jenny Burson, EdD
University of Texas at Austin (retired)
Education Department, Curriculum and Instruction