Lesson plan

The Elements of Fiction: Creating a Story Map

Give your students a chance to hone their reading comprehension skills as they learn about the characters, setting, and plot of their favorite fiction books by creating a story map.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the The Key Elements of Fictional Text pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the The Key Elements of Fictional Text pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to explain the key elements of a fictional text.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of key details in a fictional text.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Gather students to the rug for the start of the lesson.
  • Ask students if they know what fiction is and allow a few students to share out. Answers might include things like, "Fiction is about something pretend/imaginary/not realistic."
  • Ask students what nonfiction is and allow a few students to share out. Answers might include things like, "Nonfiction is about something real, it is sometimes called informational text, you learn something from it."
  • Say, “Today we are going to learn how to understand the different elements of a fictional text through story mapping. We’ll learn how to identify the setting, characters, and plot and share what we know with a friend.”
  • Ask students, “Why do you think we might want to identify the different elements of a text?” Answers might include:
    • to learn about the characters,
    • to keep track of what we read,
    • to help us pay attention to what we read, or
    • to share a story with others.
(10 minutes)
  • Read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas (or a similar grade appropriate fiction text) aloud.
  • As you read, pause to think aloud. You can say something like, “It seems like this book has a few main characters: the three wolves and the pig. Hmm.”
  • Continue to read, pausing to point out key elements within the text.
(10 minutes)
  • Project the Story Map worksheet on the whiteboard/smartboard so that you can write on it and the class can easily read as you write.
  • Fill in the beginning of the worksheet (title of the book, author’s name) while telling the class what you are doing and showing them where you found the title/author information in the text.
  • Under the section titled “Characters," ask the students who they think the main characters were and who the supporting or secondary characters were. Repeat with setting. Ask the students if they know what the word “plot” means. Have them pair-share with a partner and then share out. Say, “A plot is what happens within the story, and each part of the story works together to create the plot.”
  • Ask students to think about the main character(s) from the text that was read aloud. Remind students that the main characters are the people, animals, or pretend creatures that appear many times throughout the story. Allow a few students to share their answers and record their answers on the story map.
  • Point to the boxes with the headings beginning, middle, and end. Ask a non-volunteer to explain what the plot of a story is. Clarify any misconceptions. Draw a picture that connects with the beginning of the story, labeling any characters or important words in the picture. Ask for volunteers to model completing the pictures for the middle and end of the story.
  • Explain that you just created a story map and that now students will get to practice creating their own story map using a fiction text of their choosing.
(25 minutes)
  • Show the students a variety of grade-appropriate texts.
  • Project the Story Map worksheet that you filled out in the previous section and explain that now you will pass out a worksheet to each student and they will complete the worksheet independently after reading their text.

Support: Allow students to work in pairs to complete the story maps or have a small group of students gather for teacher-led instruction

Enrichment: For advanced students, provide a copy of the Mapping out a Scene from a Book worksheet and introduce the term dialogue. Allow students additional time to read texts and finish the worksheet. Another idea would be for students to create an additional story map using their own format. Give students large pieces of anchor chart paper and coloring materials. Examples of prompting questions include: What's a different way you could design your story map to tell the story, including the characters, setting, and plot? What illustrations or labels could you add to your story map so the reader can "walk through" the story and understand what happened from the beginning to the end?

(5 minutes)

Collect the Story Map worksheets and assess whether students were able to accurately identify and record each part of the story.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask for a few volunteers to share out parts of their story maps with the class (for example, asking for a student to share one of their characters, the setting, etc.) Note what students did well. Highlight each part of the story map as students share to review with the whole class.
  • Discuss student questions as needed. Close by saying, “A story map is a great tool to use when you want to better understand the different elements of a fictional text.”

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