Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Story mapping is a great way to check my learners’ understanding of stories. A story map gives them a framework for identifying elements of a story. I use a simple template when we first use story mapping. After a while my learners know what questions to ask themselves.’ 

Stage 1: Prepare 

Draw a blank mind map on the board or chart paper.   

Story name Who? Where?
What happened? Beginning

Stage 2: Introduce 

Review the story that you will map.  

Ask: ‘Who was the story about? Where and when did it take place? What happened at the beginning? In the middle? At the end?’ 

With older learners use words like characters and setting. 

Stage 3: Map the story 

Explain that a story map is a picture of the main ideas. It helps to summarise a story. Point to the different bubbles on the story map. 

Say: ‘Let’s write what we know about the story on the story map.’ 

Discuss what needs to go in each bubble. Explain that the learners need to think of single words or short phrases, or even a drawing, to summarise the story. 

Fill in the bubbles or let learners do the writing or drawing. Add extra bubbles as you need them. 

Stage 4: Use the map 

Say: ‘Now let’s tell the story using the story map. We will use the ideas from the map and tell the story in our own words.’ 

Learners can take turns to tell sections of the story. 

  • ‘The story is about a tricky tortoise and a lazy rabbit.’ 
  • ‘The story takes place in a forest.’ 
  • ‘At the beginning, the rabbit laughs at the tortoise because he is slow.’ 

Encourage learners to use full sentences and not just single words. 

Stage 5: Extend 

Give the learners a copy of a blank story map or ask them to copy one into their books. 

Say: ‘Use the story map to tell a story you know. Share it with a friend.’ 

Circulate and help where you need to.  

Story mapping can be used with any level or grade. Secondary school learners can use this technique to summarise a short story or a chapter or theme of a novel. Primary school learners can draw pictures of characters or the plot. 

Story mapping can also be used to plan stories before writing. 


Circulate: To move around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help. 

Elements: A part or component of something.  

Framework: A system of rules or ideas which are used when planning something.   

Mind map: A way of creating and organising ideas about a topic. One central topic is written in a circle, and different, related ideas come out from the centre. 

Story mapping: Planning the different parts of a story (e.g. plot, character). 

Template: A model or pattern for something which learners can follow to create their own work.