Interactive Story Map

Story Mapping

UDL 3.4 UDL 6.3

An Interactive Story Map is a graphic organizer featuring key story elements (i.e., characters, setting, conflict, resolution development) paired with guiding questions (e.g. "What is the conflict?", "How does the character act?", "Where is the story set?"). An Interactive Story Map resembles a web, listing each of the key story elements with attached extension boxes for students to respond to questions and write their analyses. Interactive Story Maps reinforce story structure when reading a fictional text and are helpful planning tools for students when developing storylines and characters for a creative writing assignment. Beyond a planning tool, an Interactive Story Map can be used to assess comprehension and analytical skills.

Ready-to-Use Resources


Plot Diagram Story Board Templates

A set of story board templates to support students when producing a visual story. Story boards in this set include a plot diagram to help students organize key events. Students can use these templates when creating their own stories or summarizing a book or section they have read.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Writing · 3 pages

Implementation Tips

Prepare the Interactive Story Map graphic organizer with the key story elements already filled into separate boxes. Each box should have 2-3 extension boxes depending on how many questions students are guided to answer for each element (e.g., making sure enough space is provided for students to record information).
Choosing Guiding Questions
Choose guiding questions for each story element to help students navigate a text that is read aloud, or to support students when preparing their own fictional stories. Check out these [[|sample guiding questions]] or take a look at ReadWriteThink's [[ | interactive online version]].
Review the key story elements (i.e., characters, setting, conflict, resolution development) to activate student background knowledge before reading a text. Model how to use the Interactive Story Map by reading the guiding questions and filling in some information on the graphic organizer about the key story elements.
Implement the Interactive Story Map strategy frequently, especially when reading texts that emphasize character analysis or assigning fictional writing assignments. Encourage students to save maps in content related folders (e.g., reading, writing) to refer back to them when comparing and contrasting stories in reading, and to further develop characters and plots in writing.
Make a large sample Interactive Story Map of a familiar text accessible for students to reference when creating their own Interactive Story Maps.
Student Discussions
Provide opportunities for students to meet in small groups or in partnerships to share their outlines, compare each other’s insights, and borrow ideas. Students can use this peer conference to add, remove, or alter information included on their Interactive Story Maps.
Allow students to draw images with labels as responses on an Interactive Story Map or separate each story element “web” onto separate pages to provide students with more space to reflect on a text or plan their fictional writing piece.


Comparing Texts
As part of a book series unit, a teacher asks students compare the Ron Roy's [[,204,203,200_.jpg|*A to Z mysteries: The Absent Author*]] and [[| *The Bald Bandit*]]. Small groups are formed and students are provided with two copies of an Interactive Story Map. Students work together to fill in the key elements and related information based on the two texts. After, the teacher conducts a whole-class discussion for students to share the similarities and differences between the two texts. The teacher uses this conversation to highlight the difference in the narrative structure of texts in the mystery genre.
Using Past Maps as a Reference
During a realistic fiction writing unit, a teacher gives each student an Interactive Story Map to plan their writing. Students use the graphic organizer to develop their characters. Students also refer back to earlier story maps created during reading workshops to reflect on characters from previous stories to build more complex characters in their own writing. The teacher discusses with students (e.g., T: “Why did you choose these characters? S: “I really liked how one character in the Magic Treehouse series is adventurous and one is cautious.”) and reminds students to be descriptive about each character’s actions and behaviors when drafting.
Creative Writing
A teacher provides students with wordless picture books (e.g., books with no words on the pages or picture books with the words covered) and asks students to analyze the text and design the story based on the visual images. Students work in partnerships to first develop a storyline orally, and then students write their collaborative creative version of the picture book onto an Interactive Story Map (i.e., characters, setting, conflict, resolution development). After, the teacher meets with partnerships to provide feedback. Students revise and edit the story line as needed and then bring their story to publication.

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