Map Out the Important Stuff!
Reading to Learn

By: Meaghan Lambert

Rationale:  Summarization is a very important concept for primary grade students to understand.  The ability to comprehend and synthesize any type                     of text is extremely beneficial to a student's future success in their education.  In this lesson, I will teach students how to make a story                         map of a text.  This will benefit them so that they can see how completing a story map can help improve their summarization skills which will                     help them with their reading comprehension.


*       Multiple copies of The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. 

*       One copy of The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

*       One copy of a story map (see attached).

*       A few sheets of blank paper (preferably butcher paper).

*       Dry erase board.

*       Markers.


1.      First you will need to begin by reviewing silent reading from the last lesson.  "Can anyone tell me what strategy we learned in our last lesson?"  [Allow time for students to answer.]  "Yes, that is correct, we learned how to become better silent readers.  Why do you think it is a good idea for you to learn how to read silently?"  [Allow time for answers.]  "Great answers!  Lets review how to read silently to ourselves, pull out your book that you are currently reading, and begin reading silently." [Allow time for everyone to retrieve their books, and take a few moments to review how to read silently.]  Next, introduce what summarization and story mapping is.  "Okay, today class, we are going to learn a new strategy that will help us become better readers, it is  called summarization.  Summarization is a big word, but it has a very simple meaning, it is a tool that we use to pick out all of the important information from whatever we may be reading and discarding any unimportant information.  Does anyone think they can give me an example of something important in a book or article they may read?"  [Allow time for students to answer.]  "Yes, the characters, or the plot are both important information in a book!  Great job!  Well, today, we are going to learn a fun way to summarize what we read.  This fun way is called story mapping.  Story mapping is when you complete a chart with boxes on it.  In the boxes, you fill in the characters, setting, plot or problems (with attempts/events) and the resolution or outcome.  When you have completed a story map, it will help you summarize all of the main points and ideas in the book."

 2.    Have the copy of a story map handy.  "Now, I am going to model how to make a story map for the book I am reading aloud to you, The Borrowers by Mary Norton."  Model how to make a story map by copying it from the sheet onto the board.  Explain each box carefully.  Ask the students to help you in figure out who the characters were and write them down in the corresponding box.  Also ask a few questions about what the problem or setting was and write down their answers in the corresponding boxes.  "Can anyone tell me some details that may not be important enough to put into the map?"  [Allow time for students to answer.]  "Great job!  Details like what color Tommy's shirt was in the book, isn't very important, so that is why we do not put details such as that into our story map!" [You may complete the entire story map if time permits, if not, just fill in a few boxes and ask if the students have any questions about how to complete a story map.]

 3.    "Okay, now everyone needs to get into their literature discussion group because now you are going to create a story map about the book you have just concluded, The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks."  [Normally students would be in literature discussion groups where each group had a different book, however this is our first attempt at literature discussion groups, so they all are reading the same book.]  Pass out to each group a large sheet of butcher paper and markers.  "Now, work with the others in your group and draw a story map like I have used on the board on your paper that has been provided.  Remember that you do not have to draw plain square boxes; you may be creative and use different shapes. Once you have drawn the story map, work as a group to fill in all of the boxes.  Once your group has finished making the story map, you have one more thing to do.  By using the story map that your group has just created, write a one-paragraph summary of the book (only 3-5 sentences).  This assignment is an independent one, that means you need to work by yourself.  "

 4.    Give sufficient time for all students to complete their story map and paragraph summary of the book.  "Now that you are all finished, each group is going to come up to the front of the room and present their story map." [Allow time for group presentations.]  "I am so proud that everyone did an excellent job today!  Does everyone see how creating a story map helps them summarize what they read?  This is another tool that you can place in your "toolbox" to use in the future when reading!"

Assessment:    The student's presentations and story maps will serve as the group's assessment.  Also, their summary paragraph that they turn in will    serve as their individual assessment.  All forms of assessments will be used to determine whether or not each student has comprehended our new strategies of summarization and story mapping.


Banks, Lynne Reid. The Indian in the Cupboard.  Doubleday and Company. New York: 1981.

Norton, Mary.  The Borrowers.  Scholastic Inc.  New York: 1953.

"Fun With Summarizing" by Kara Oglesby:

 "What’s Important to You?"  by: Shay Mink:

 Story Map: df

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