Unit 3- Story Maps

When and how can story maps be implemented in instruction?

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At the end of this unit you will be able to:

  • Distinguish where and when during instruction, as well as what content areas, story maps ought to be used in.
  • Determine how a story map might be used and create an example situation to use one to enhance instruction for better comprehension of a topic.


  • The story mapping procedure can be added as a part of any daily literature instruction in a general classroom.
  • Story mapping can be done individually, or collaboratively in small groups or as a whole class.
  • As previously stated, story mapping can be used across grade levels and content areas. Click the following link to view story maps for English, as well as History and Science: http://www.readingquest.org/strat/storymaps.html
  • When getting young students accustomed to the story mapping process, the key is practice, practice, practice!
  • Teachers ought to introduce the concept of story mapping by starting with passages and pieces of literature in which the setting, plot, characters, etc. are blatantly laid out. It is also helpful to begin by using stories that the students are already familiar with.
  • The teacher ought to start the process with guided learning strategies. A teacher should read a passage out loud while orally identifying text or picture clues demonstrating each element.
  • Next, a teacher might want to use text or pictures to model how to complete a story map. This step might be done collaboratively in a whole group setting, with the teacher facilitating discussion. This strategy is particularly effective in primary classrooms, where the whole class might gather together on the floor in front of the board or in a reading area. below are examples of story map materials to use in a whole group setting:

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  • With sufficient reinforcement, modeling, and practice, a student will work his or her way towards successful independent story mapping, which in turn will place them one step closer to effective reading comprehension.

Learning activities

  1. Review the webpage we briefly looked at in Unit 1 http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/story_maps/ This time take a closer look at the language arts lesson example!
  2. Click the following link and view the example lesson plan: http://www.ucrl.utah.edu/pro-dev/instruction/lesson3_all.html You are to view the entire lesson. This includes the introduction, modeling, guided practice, as well as independent use phase.
  3. Now it is time to put your knowledge to use! For the final step of this project, you will create a comprehensive lesson plan involving the creation of a story map. This is not to be a lesson teaching how to make a story map. The example video in step 2 already does this for you! You may use whatever format you are most comfortable with for for this lesson plan, but your lesson must include the following:
  • Lesson plan title
  • Target body of students
  • Objectives
  • Standards
  • Materials
  • Procedure
  • Assessment plan
  • Any additional accommodations or information
  • An explanation as to why you chose to implement this particular story map into your lesson

Remember: You may refer back to the Reading Rockets webpage (link in step 1) for story map templates. A simple web search for "story map templates" will also lead you to hundreds of sites with archives of effective and free story maps to download for your use.


  • After completing your lesson plan, if possible, test it out on a group of your own students. Write a brief reflection on what you have learned regarding story maps and how they assist in the acquirement of reading comprehension skills in elementary age children. Was your lesson effective in improving the reading comprehension of your learners?
  • If you do not have a group of students to teach your lesson to, you should still reflect on what you have learned throughout this mini-course and how the information effected the planning of your lesson.

Discussion space: Creating Talk:Unit 3- Story Maps

What's next?

Congratulations! You have completed this mini-course!

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Return to:

Unit 2- Story Maps

Unit 1- Story Maps

Using Story Maps in Elementary Classrooms