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Story Maps and Boxes

Subject: Language Arts, Literature, Reading
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students use a story map template to review the parts of a story and information about a book they have read. Students share the story boxes as alternatives to book reports.


Students learn about story maps as a tool for identifying the elements of a story.


elements of a story, graphic organizer, story map, story box

Materials Needed

For the teacher:

  • 11-inch by 14-inch construction paper for the story box template
  • Story Map Rubric
For students:
  • any book that students have read or that the teacher reads to students
  • copies of Story Map work sheet (one per student)
  • writing paper, drawing paper, or construction paper (one sheet per student)
  • colored pencils
  • markers

Lesson Plan

Part 1:

  • Introduce the lesson by assessing how well the students are able to identify the elements of a story. Have students preview the text, vocabulary, and any pictures in a student- or teacher-chosen book.
  • Based on the drawings or photographs, ask students to guess the events that take place in the book. Discuss students' predictions with the class.
  • Distribute the story map work sheet. Tell students to write their predictions about the book on the back of their story maps so that they can compare their predictions at the end of the lesson.
  • Have students begin completing the story map work sheet by filling in the title of the book and the author's name in the Title box.
  • Next, have students read the book silently or take turns reading it aloud. As students read the book, you may want to stop and ask questions or have students fill out portions of the story map as they read.
  • At this point, you can have a discussion of the book or have the students complete the map on their own.
Part 2:
  • Students use their story map work sheets as their guides to create their story boxes.
  • On a sheet of 11 by 14 paper, create a story box template for the students. The template should show six squares that form a t. Each square should be 3 inches across. Follow the directions below to form the t.
    1. Draw a row of three squares. Put the numerals 2, 3, and 4 in consecutive order under each square in the row.
    2. Draw a square above the second square in the row. Put the numeral 1 under this square.
    3. Draw a square below the second square in the row. Put the numeral 5 under this square.
    4. Draw one more square directly below square number 5. Put the numeral 6 under this square.
  • Explain to students that they must fill in the squares using the following information from their story map work sheets:
    Box 1: Title and author
    Box 2: Characters
    Box 3: Setting
    Box 4: Problem
    Box 5: Major events dealing with problem
    Box 6: Conclusion


Use the Story Map Rubric to assess how well each student completed the story map and story box, including neatness, spelling, and grammar.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Submitted by Patricia A. Fry, Templeton Middle School, Sussex, Wisconsin

The submitter of our highlighted lesson received a $50 honorarium. See our guidelines to submit your lesson plan!

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