John Finally Came First! ordinal numbers story

a story teaching ordinal numbers by Alex Case

Notes for teachers and parents

When you read for the first time, you can get them to say what they think the next ordinal number is each time, from clues like:

  • Your positive body language and voice (to show that the next ordinal number is one higher than the previous high) or negative body language and voice
  • Language hints like the use of “and” and “but”
  • Saying the cardinal number
  • Letting them read the ordinal number off the page

They could also try to guess what John is finally first for just before that is revealed.After reading, they could:

  • Try to remember what thing John was in each position for the second time that you read the story
  • Draw pictures to accompany the text
  • Make up similar stories where positions go up and/ or down over time


John Finally Came First!

a story teaching ordinal numbers by Alex Case

One page version

On Monday last week John came ninth in the maths test, his best ever!


And on Tuesday he was eighth in high jump!


But then he was back to tenth in the spelling test


and he was the eleventh person to finish clearing up.


And on Wednesday he was twelfth in the 100 metres sprint and thirteenth in the hurdles race,


but then he was seventh in long jump and sixth in gymnastics.


On Thursday he was the fifth person to finish reading the story and was fourth best in the history test.


And on Friday he was third top in music and had the second best pronunciation in French,


but in science he was fourteenth – last!


But this Monday, John finally came first. He was the very first person to make the teacher angry and the first student to be sent out of the class!


Next week John wants to be fourteenth!


PDF version for easy saving and printing, including page by page version:John Finally Came First ordinal numbers story