Story Mapping

Story Mapping
Story mapping is a strategy that uses graphic organizers to help students break down text. 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.

Where to Begin

Whatever level your students are on, you will need to model creating the story map you wish to use. This can be done using a poster-sized piece of paper, a dry erase board, or on a SmartBoard. If your students have not created story maps in the past, you may wish to begin with a simple one page model such as this one from Scholastic.

Graphic Organizer: Story MapAs your students’s skills grow, your story maps will need to become more advanced.

Enjoy these resources to help you teach story elements and story mapping:

Free Story Mapping BookStory Elements PowerPoint

Gay Miller



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