What is a story map? Teacher Tips and Free Printable for Students

books vector illustration isolated on white background

Are you introducing story maps in your lesson plan? Or looking for a free graphic organizer to create a story map with your class? Either way, you’re in luck! In this post, we’ll review what a story map is, and the benefits of using these graphic organizers in the classroom. And that’s not all! Scroll to the bottom of this post to find the free story map template that we created just for you.

In this post:

What is a story map?

A story map can be defined as a graphic organizer that is used to examine the different elements of a story. When using a story map, students fill in information about the story they are reviewing. During this process, students learn how to identify the main characters, key events, and ideas presented in a narrative. Furthermore, story mapping helps students learn how to identify character traits, which aids in sharpening reading comprehension skills.

Story maps can be used in a variety of educational settings and with various grade levels. And the complexity of these graphic organizers can vary too – with some simply reviewing the beginning, middle, and end of a narrative and others diving deep into the plot, theme, and personality traits of the story’s characters.

3 Benefits of Using Story Maps in the Classroom

Whether you teach in person, virtually, or you’re a homeschooling parent; a story map can be used in language arts lessons. Are you wondering how story mapping can help students or if you should add it to your next lesson? Just keep reading! Below, we’ll review 3 benefits of using story maps.

1. Learning how to create story maps can help students with their reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary skills.

Download this clipart illustration here.

2. A story map helps students learn how to identify the elements of various pieces of literature.

Download this clipart illustration here.

3. Story maps are graphic organizers that help students categorize information and sort out their ideas.

Download this clipart illustration here.

3 Ways to Use Story Mapping in Your Next Lesson

Story maps come in handy when you’re in the business of education – particularly if you teach children English, language arts, or reading comprehension. Are you wondering how to use story maps in your next class? Keep reading. Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Work with the entire class to create story maps that analyze the various elements of a story – including the characters, plot, and theme. Use a familiar or popular narrative to start.

Are you discussing the wonderful world of fiction writing with your students? Or, preparing your language arts class for a reading comprehension test? Whether you homeschool or teach in a traditional learning facility, examining a narrative with the help of a story map, can help students gain a better understanding of how story elements work together.

📖 Tip: For a teacher or homeschooling parent who wants to introduce graphic organizers in the classroom, starting with a familiar story may be beneficial. For instance, during an introductory lesson, teachers could have each student fill in a story map for a familiar narrative such as the story of the Three Little Pigs or another popular tale like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

2. Read short stories aloud then divide the class into small groups and have the students work together to analyze the plot and characters.

Are you searching for ideas to engage every student in your class? How about reading a fun narrative aloud as a large group? Following your reading lesson, students can work together to review key events that took place in the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

📖 Tip: Reading aloud and creating story maps in small groups is an activity that can be conducted by teachers in small or large classrooms or by parents with multiple kids. The most important part of this activity is to engage each student, individually, while simultaneously encouraging them to collaborate with their classmate.

3. To further develop an understanding of how to examine key elements in a narrative, have students fill in a blank story map. Alternatively, have each student create their own map.

If you’re trying to emphasize the importance of using a story map to analyze story elements; consider having each student try to fill out a story map on their own. And for more advanced language arts students, this activity can be taken a step further with the creation of individual story maps.

📖 Tip: When it comes to story analysis, it’s important to engage students and encourage them to participate. As students advance and matriculate through different grade levels, they can begin to look at stories beyond what happened at the beginning, middle, and end. For those students, encourage them to include their ideas of what a story map could look like. On the other hand, for younger students, write out a story map and have students fill in the information. Or simply use the free story map template that can be found below.

Looking for a graphic organizer? This story map template is FREE!

a graphic organizer used to create a story map

Download this story map template to share with your class.

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