Stay on Track with Story Mapping!!!
Katie Naylor

Rationale:  People read for two main reasons:  Entertainment and information.  However, neither of these things can happen if people don't understand and comprehend what they are reading.  In this lesson, we will discover how story mapping can help us summarize the main points of a book or article in a diagram that is easy to see and comprehend, thus helping us meet our reading goals.
Materials:  A copy of the factual book Pigs, Pigs; informational books on several different kinds of animals (at least one for every child); paper; pencils; marker- or chalkboard; markers or chalk.
Procedure:  1)  "Good morning, class!  Today we are going to talk about things we can do to help us understand stories that we read so we can learn from them.  Does anyone know what a main idea is?  (Allow time for answers.)  That's right; a main idea is what the story is all about.   The main idea is usually just a few words or a sentence; you might think of a title as the main idea of a story.  After finding the main idea of a story, we should look for the parts of the story that are most important in order for us to understand what the story is about.  We are going to learn how to make a story map today that will show us the main idea and the most important parts of the story.
2) "I am going to read the book Pigs, Pigs to you, and we are going to talk about what we learned in the story.  (Read Pigs, Pigs.)  Let's talk about some of the things we learned from this book.  (Let the children discuss what they learned.)  Now, I'm going go to the board, and we are going to organize the information we learned by making a story map.  First, I'm going to write the main idea in the middle and circle it.  What do you think our main idea would be?  What was our story all about?  (Children will probably say "Pigs!")  Yes, it was pigs.  So, I'll write Pigs in the middle and circle it.  Now, what we want to do next is think about some of the main things we learned about pigs.  I'll show you what I mean by doing the first one.  First, we learned about pigs' birth.  So, I'll draw a line from our main idea, and, at the end of the line, I'll write birth and circle it.  Now, we need to list some things we learned about pigs' birth.  For each thing we list, we'll draw a line from birth and write and circle each thing we learned about that.  I know we learned that pigs are born live from their mother.  So, I'll write that and circle it after I draw a line from birth.  Now, what are some other things we learned about pigs' birth, how they are born, etc.?  (Continue with this topic, then move on when they are out of answers.)  Now, let's talk about another important thing we learned about pigs and do the same thing.  Can you tell me something else we learned about pigs?  Remember, give me a main topic first; then we'll list the details.  (Answers will vary, and may include breeds, marketing, where they live, what they eat, how mothers care for babies, etc.)  (Continue until all main ideas have been covered.)  Great job, class!  Now, I can look at this model, and remember all the important facts we learned about pigs.  In fact, even if a new student came in who didn't get to hear the book being read, they could probably look at our story map and learn just about everything we did from the book."
3) "Now, I am going to call you up by rows and let you each choose one of these informational books about animals.  You may choose whichever one you wish.  I want you to go back to your seat and read the book.  Then, I'm going to give you a big sheet of paper and a pencil, and I want you to make a story map of your book like the one we made on the board.  Remember to first write the main idea, which may just be the animal you read about, then write the most important points or things you learned, then write the details about each one.  If you need my help, just raise your hand and I'll help you."
4) For assessment, have the students share their story maps with the class.  Have them point to the words on their map and read them aloud.  Make sure the students have grasped the main idea, important points, and details in a clear way, so that the audience can get the main points of the book without having read it.
Reference:  Pressley, Michael. "Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text."The Elementary School Journal.  Volume 90, Number 1.  1989.  The University of Chicago.

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