What: Story maps are graphic organizers that show the sequence, of events that make up the plot of a story. This version of a story map allows young children to see the three basic parts of a story and introduces them to the idea that all stories contain this structure.
Why: Research indicates that knowledge of the way in which story content is typically organized into a plot—initiating events, problems/goals, attempts to solve problems/achieve goals, and resolutions/outcomes—helps readers better understand how stories “work.”
When: After reading
Who: Whole class
• Before class, use the model below to draw a story map on chart paper, but do not show it to students. In addition, choose a story—a fairy tale or fable—that students know well. On separate sheets of paper, make simple line drawings that show events at the beginning, in the middle (you can draw more than one event), and at the end of the story.
• If necessary, explain to students that all stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Say, for example, The beginning is what happens at the start of the story, or what the character in the story does. The middle is what the character does next. Lots of things can happen in the middle of a story. The end is what finally happens, or how the story turns out.
• Read or tell the story that you have chosen, using the pictures that you drew to illustrate beginning, middle, and ending events.
• On the board, write the words Beginning, Middle, and End. Display all of the pictures and have students choose the one(s) that go with each story part. Tape or attach the pictures to the board beneath the appropriate heading.
• Display the chart-paper story map. Write the title of the story that you have chosen, then point to and read each sentence starter.
• Point to and read each sentence starter again and prompt students to finish each one by telling what happened at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the story. Write their answers on the map.
• Call on individual students to retell the story using the sentence starters.
Beginning, Middle, End Story Map
Beginning Middle End
At the start of the story— Then— The story ends when—
• Throughout the year, have students use these or similar sentence starters to retell each story that they read in class.
• Have students work in pairs to retell this or any other story that they read but with a different ending.