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Using a story map template helps you keep track of the most important parts of the plot of a story including the main characters, the setting, the key events, the conflict, and the resolution. Students typically use story map worksheet to visually organize the elements of fiction writing. With it, they can follow a plot’s linear progression.

What is a story map?

Using a story map template is an effective strategy in the classroom which helps students learn the components of literature. Students can create their own story map example and use this as a visual organizer to help them learn about other subject matters too.

Think about regular maps. We use them to “see” mountains, roads, bodies of water, and more around us. With these maps, we can navigate easily to our destination without getting lost along the way. Story map printables work in the same way.

After you read a story, you can start creating your story map to identify the setting, the main characters, and other elements of the story’s plot. There are several kinds of story maps which you can use for different levels of learning. The simplest kinds only involve the beginning, middle, and the end of the story.

But if you plan to make a more detailed map, that’s when you can include the characters, the traits of these characters, the conflict, and other relevant elements. Students of all ages and levels can use story maps. It’s up to the teachers to show their students how to create it effectively.

Downloadable Templates:

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Preparing to create your story map

When you’re given the assignment to create your own story map template, your teacher should have already taught you how to go about it. But if this is your first time to do so, it may seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, you can download story maps printables for free and use these as a reference.

Whether you plan to use a pre-made story map worksheet or you want to create it on your own, there are some things you may want to do first to prepare for this task. These include:

  • Find ideas and inspiration
    There are so many story map examples out there which you can use to find ideas and inspiration for your own. These maps come from different individuals and they deal with various subject matters. If you’re feeling lost and you don’t know where to start, go online. Explore different websites to find templates and examples to help move things along.
  • Choose a template for your story map
    Whether you plan to use a downloaded file or you want to create your story map from the beginning, using a template will be very helpful for you. Having a template gives your map a structure and all you have to do is to follow it. Again, you can download a free story map template and customize it as needed to make the task a lot easier.
  • Start creating your map
    It’s important to note that you can create a story map in two ways. First, you can create it on a word processing software using a template, print it out, and submit it to your teacher. But if your teacher prefers a more modern approach, then you may start building your story map using an app.
    There are several story map building apps available which you can try. These are very easy to use even if you don’t have any coding knowledge or skills. You don’t even have to install or download these apps, you can simply use them while you’re online, save your work, and you’re done!
    Also, most of the story map building apps come with their own tutorial page to guide you throughout the process. This is a very helpful feature so you can learn how to build your map no matter how simple or how elaborate you want it to be.
    On these sites, you can also get some ideas and inspiration. Check out their samples or even some existing story maps created by other users. Then you can borrow some ideas and use them for your own map or you can simply use these as a basis for what you plan to build.
    No matter what method you plan to use for creating your map, try to have fun with it. Make it as interesting as possible so that you can include all of the elements of the story you’ve read. Once you’ve finished and you feel confident about your work, it’s time to move on to the next step.
  • Proofread your map
    Before you submit or publish your story map, make sure to proofread it first. You don’t want your teacher to subtract some points off your grade just because of a few spelling or grammatical errors! Make sure that you’ve checked all the content from start to finish before you finalize it.

Tips for creating your own story map

Story map worksheets and apps are very popular. They have a visual and interactive nature making them an excellent medium for sharing interesting information about a story, a topic or a place. You can even use them to start a discussion about real-life issues.

When making your own story map template, there are several things to consider depending on detailed you want your map to be. Here are some tips for you when crafting your own story map:

  • Choose the topic of the story
    All stories communicate a certain message. If you want to communicate this message effectively, it’s important to be as concise as possible. Select a discrete topic and try to narrow it down to its fundamental message. From here, you can start planning the content of your map.
  • Plan your data strategy and execute it
    Although “data strategy” might seem like an intimidating thing, it’s really not. When planning your data strategy, all you have to do is determine which attributes and elements to include. Only choose the most significant information so as not to make your map too cluttered or complicated.
    Go back to the requirements of your project before you start with this step. Make sure to read all of the requirements to have a better idea of what information to include and what you don’t have to make a part of your story map.
    You may search online for a template which includes all the data you need. You can also download a template which contains different content then customize it according to your needs. To help you out, you may also create an outline for your story map to use as the structure and as your reference.
  • Try out different templates
    Different narratives or stories may work better with different templates. For instance, if you have a story map where you would like to guide your reader through various locations, it’s best to present this using a map tour template. Such a template cascades in such a way that it gives the reader a guided narrative using different maps, multimedia, and photos.
    Since you’ve already planned the content of your story map, you can try it out using different templates. Once you find one that works, stick with it.
  • Keep things simple
    It’s never a good idea to overwhelm your readers with too many information. It’s better to walk the readers through your map without trying to clutter it up. For digital story maps, try to avoid having your readers interact heavily with pop-ups or any other kinds of tools. Most of the time, the simpler it is, the better!
  • Personalize your story map
    There are a few ways for you to make your story map more personalized to appeal to your readers:
    Try incorporating relatable multimedia like videos or photos of real people, children, and more.
    Try not to end your story map abruptly. Include a closing statement or slide to ease your readers into the fact that it’s done.
    Don’t forget to credit all of the sources you’ve used in your map. Also, affix your signature on the map to make it more personal.
  • Dress up your story map
    Think about it – when you dress yourself up, you do so depending on the occasion. Apply this same principle to when you’re dressing your story map up. Make sure that the central theme you use for your story map matches the topic. For instance, if you have a somber or serious topic, you may want to go with a darker theme.
    You can also emphasize the theme using the transition methods in the cascade of your digital story map. Whatever design element you choose to incorporate, make sure that it’s relevant to your topic.
  • Think outside of the box
    Finally, don’t forget to unleash your creativity! To make your story map stand out from the rest, you may want to think outside the box. Although you may draw inspiration from templates, it’s always better for you to bring your own style to it.


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