Literacy PK-3

Systems Change


Providing a story map ahead of time or having students create a map during or after reading helps learners understand and practice Narrative Skills. A story map visually highlights and organizes important elements of a text to support deeper reading comprehension and support Foundational Writing Skills.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this elementary teacher uses a story map while she is reading aloud with a small group. By using this visual map to orient students to pay attention to the characters and setting in the book, she guides their focus and supports their comprehension of important story elements.

  • Teachers can model a story map by previewing aspects of a text, such as setting and characters, to help activate students' Background Knowledge. When students then complete their own story maps during and/or after reading, they can visually organize the story concepts to better retain them in their Short- and Long-term Memories.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how a digital product, such as Kidspiration, can allow learners to create complex story maps to visualize and enhance their learning. Through the creation process, learners sort and organize information from a text into meaning with a dynamic graphic organizer.

  • Providing flexible, adaptable story maps within a product allows learners to organize and digest the texts they read. This also relieves some of the cognitive load from Working Memory so readers can focus on comprehension.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy