EL Support Lesson

Map a Story

This lesson will help your students summarize short stories and describe how characters respond to challenges using a story map. Use this lesson as a stand-alone activity or a support lesson for the Story Mapping Group Work lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Story Mapping Group Work lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Story Mapping Group Work lesson plan.

Students will be able to describe how characters respond to challenges in a story plot.


Students will be able to summarize character reactions within a story using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Project the story map(s) and explain that today students will be using a story map to organize the parts of a story.
  • Explain that many stories have a problem and solution that can be described simply with a "somebody wanted, but, so, then" summary.
  • Access prior knowledge of the term summary by writing it on the board and asking for volunteers to define it.
  • Complete a Frayer Model with the students for the term summary and check their comprehension throughout by asking them to orally repeat the definition or provide examples.
(8 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they'll learn how to write a summary of a story that will be read aloud, but first they'll learn new vocabulary terms. Present the vocabulary terms from the vocabulary cards. Use visuals as you define each word and allow students to discuss how the visual relates to the new word.
  • Remind students of how to complete the Frayer Model worksheets.
  • Divide students into five groups, each of which is to complete a Frayer Model for an assigned vocabulary word.
  • Allow students to create and share aloud their own sentences with the new vocabulary words. For example: "Rain prevented outdoor recess."
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the story, Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney.
  • Ask students to identify the main characters. Ask students to turn and tell a partner what the main characters wanted.
  • Ask students to turn and tell a seat partner what prevented the main character from getting what they wanted.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the "Somebody Wanted" Story Map worksheet, read it to the students, and ask them to circle the new vocabulary words.
  • Ask students to write "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" at the top.
  • Ask them to discuss and complete the story map with a partner.


  • Allow beginning EL students to form a group that reads aloud with you.


  • Encourage students needing an extra challenge to use the story map with a book they read independently.
(2 minutes)
  • Get the whole group's attention to ask your students to show you their level of understanding of "somebody wanted" summaries and/or story maps. Have students hold up one finger if they are still unsure and need more information. Students who feel they have mastered the concept would hold up five fingers, and so on.
  • Circulate the room during partner work time, informally assessing comprehension.
  • Collect the story maps to review for accuracy.
(3 minutes)
  • Instruct students to turn to a partner to complete one of the following sentence stems:
    • A story map can help me ____.
    • A main character is ____.
    • My favorite part of the lesson was ____.

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