Story Mapping Strategy

This sample worksheet provides a model of a strategy which can help students who struggle to grasp the abstract elements of a story or who cannot understand each of the individual elements of a story or written text.  Many typical workbook exercises from reading texts ask the student to “locate the main idea” and the “supporting details.”  Finding such information requires students to be capable of thinking about the abstract concept that parts of the story serve different roles in addition to the actual content in the written words and ideas. 
This can be very challenging for students with reading disabilities, as they have to wrestle with the actual decoding and then have to understanding each sentence as a complete idea. Students on the autism spectrum struggle with content that is not directly fact-based content. This worksheet helps to reveal the unwritten or hidden elements of a story’s structure.  It is an example of what can be developed, and it is intended only as a working model.

CHARACTERS: All stories have characters that the author presents in the story.  These are the easiest elements for students to locate.CHARACTERS:  Characters may be people, animals, or objects that the writer uses to tell the story.  As you read, write the names of the characters found in the story.

Character’s name.
Tell something that the author has written about this character.

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SETTING:  Writers, to add interest, always let readers know where and when the story takes place (for example, what period of history, or seasons of the year).  Sometimes the writer gives so many details it seems to paint a picture you can see in your imagination.  These details are called the “setting” of the story.SETTING:  Writers always let the reader know where and when the story is written.  Look for clues that the writer gives about the setting.

Facts that show WHEN this story happened.
Facts that tell you WHERE this story took place.
Other places in this story – did it all happen in the same place?

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PLOT:  Every story has ongoing events, plus actions by characters.  A writer usually starts a story by introducing characters and problems that they face.  The sequence of main actions by characters, as they respond to and solve problems, is called the plot. PLOT:  Every story has action.  A writer usually starts a story by telling you about the characters and problems they face.  The list of actions they take to deal with their problems is the plot. 

1.  Write down the first problem that a character faced when this story began. ______________________________

2.  How did the character fix this problem? ______________________________

3.  Does the character now have a new problem? ______________________________

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CONCLUSION:  At the end of a story, the author brings action to a climax — the most exciting point in the whole story.  Then events are brought to a “conclusion” — here the writer brings together all the important things that happened in the story, and tells how events work out for the characters.CONCLUSION:  Write a sentence or two about the conclusion.  Explain how things worked out for the characters. 

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MAIN IDEA:  A main idea may be a big situation facing the characters (such as a war, or a journey to discover new land), and how they reacted. Or, a main idea can be a lesson learned in reading the story. 
Sometimes a single sentence tells the story’s main lesson.  Examples: In the story of David and Goliath, the main idea is that God gave amazing strength to a young man when he put all his trust in the living God.  In the story of the Three Little Pigs, the lesson is that those who prepare carefully will be safe through all kinds of dangers. 
Another way to tell the moral of this lesson is: when a person only plays and wastes time, someday he will be very sorry for not preparing wisely for the future.
MAIN IDEA:  What is the MAIN idea of the story you have just read?  Can you find three facts that prove this idea is important?

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