Story Mapping

Learn about story mapping. Check out several teaching ideas. Download this free activity for students.

Story mapping is a strategy that uses graphic organizers to help students break down the text of a novel or short story. These visual representations help students examine different components of the story. Creating a story map improves students’ comprehension because they can more easily visualize the framework of a story.

Common Core

Creating a story map helps students practice a large number of Common Core skills as well.

Theme and Summarizing: RL.4.2 RL.5.2 RL.6.2
Characters, Setting, and Plot: RL.4.3 RL.5.3 RL.6.3
Meaning and Tone: RL.6.4
Structure: RL.5.5 RL.6.5
Point of View: RL.4.6 RL.5.6 RL.6.6

Types of Story Maps

There are many different types of story maps that can benefit different levels of learning. A beginning story map may have students summarize the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Other maps require students to list key components of a story such as

  • title
  • setting
  • characters
  • problem
  • major events
  • conclusion

More advanced story maps ask for additional details such as theme, author’s purpose, point of view, tone, and mood. Story maps may even ask students to compare similar aspects of two different stories. The range of story maps is endless.

Google Slides Story Map

Free Google Slides Story Map

This free story map was created on Google Slides. Students use one novel they have read to describe characters, setting, point of view, story plot, symbolism, conflict, theme, symbolism, and important quotes.

Get the Google Slides Story Map here.

Be sure to save the Google Slides to your Google Drive. After the slide presentation is saved in your Google Drive you can edit it to meet your teaching style and the needs of your students. Change the instructions with the editable text. Delete slides for skills you have not covered. You can even add additional slides as needed. 

Printable Story Map

Free Printable Story Map

This mini-book may be used to map any novel. Students fill in story elements including characters, setting, point of view, mood, story plot, symbolism, conflict, theme, and important quotes.

Get this free resource at Teachers Pay Teachers.


Story Elements Google Slide Presentation

Free 81 Slides Google Slide Presentation on Story Elements

This presentation began as a PowerPoint that I used yearly with my students. I showed small segments of the presentation depending on the skill I was covering for the day’s lesson. 

Character Traits

Slides 1-19 go over character traits and provide practice. You can easily change out the examples on the practice slides to novels you have covered.


Slides 20-24 introduce setting.

Get the Google Slides Story Elements Presentation here.


Point of View

Slides 25-47 contain teaching and practice slides for point of view. I often covered this skill with the novel Hatchet. Because of this, the examples that students classify by point of view are excerpts from Gary Paulsen’s novels. Students identify the type of figurative language from the snippet provided, so you can change these examples if you wish, but it is not necessary.

Types of Conflict

Slides 48-53 explain types of conflict. On Slides 54-72, students use response cards to ‘show’ the type of conflict in the examples. Have students make their own response cards by writing the types of conflict in large bold letters on separate index cards. To show the correct answer, students hold up the card that corresponds with the answer when you say, “Show me.”

Roller Coaster Plot Diagram

Slides 73-78 define the steps in the Roller Coast Plot Diagram.


The presentation ends with three slides going over themes with examples from novels my students have read. You will most likely need to change the examples.

Click on these buttons to go to other posts in this series.

Teaching Character Traits to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Story Setting to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Story Mapping to Upper Elementary Students



Teaching Point of View to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Perspective to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Tone vs Mood to Upper Elementary Students


Teaching Plot Development to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Theme to Upper Elementary Students

Teaching Summarizing to Upper Elementary Students




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