Today, anyone who wants to read an article or a book can do so quickly. Most can search for reading materials at the click of a mouse or on library/classroom shelves.
But even engaged readers sometimes face information overload. For example, young or beginning readers may have trouble remembering the important elements of a story.
If you're a teacher, you understand this dilemma and likely use multiple resources to help your students understand what they read.
A story map is just one resource that helps young learners with reading comprehension.
How Story Maps Benefit Students
Any teacher knows that no two students are exactly alike in their learning styles, subject preferences, and skill levels.
Because story maps are graphic organizers, they allow students to tap into visual learning and organize multiple literary elements. Here's how they work:
- Teacher introduces simple story concepts (e.g., characters, setting, plot and/or problems to be solved).
- Teacher gives each student a blank story map.
- Students look for story concepts/elements and write them in the blank spaces on the map.
- Students discuss their responses with the teacher.
So, exactly how do story maps benefit students?
- Organization - Students can organize information into smaller categories.
- Summaries - Listing important elements helps students summarize the story.
- Main Theme - Main themes are easier to spot in a passage or an entire story.
- Writing - Students build writing skills and mental organization skills.
- Broad Use - Story maps work well for both fictional stories and non-fiction articles.
- Learning Styles - Story maps reinforce kinesthetic, visual, and even auditory learning styles (if reading aloud).
Depending on your students' needs and reading levels, you may want to start with the basics via Imagine Learning's free printable story map.
If you teach older students, feel free to add other elements, such as major and minor characters, historical period, the moral of the story, and other key points.
Older students may also enjoy creating their own story map. Offer several ideas for templates they might use, and then set them free to create!
Need more printables for your classroom? Enter "printable" in our blog search field, above right.