Free Story Map Templates: Significance, How It Works

A Story Map is a tool that allows students to learn and understand the basic elements of a book. Story maps are an excellent way for students to understand narrative texts.

They are the building blocks of literary excellence. A story map involves developing a system where students can identify and interact with elements in a narrative text.

Many story maps deduce the different elements of a story. They help students understand the details of the story. Some are simple templates for recording the basics of a story. Others are superior models, carrying complex elements suited for professionals. It increases their skill in storytelling, retelling, and writing. This approach helps them use what they learn to develop original stories.

Everything concerning narrative maps will be covered in this article. We will explain why story maps are important, what they entail, and how they can be used. We will also provide free templates that you can download, edit with ease, and then use multiple times.

Story Map Templates

Interactive Story Map Template - Free Download

Editable Story Map Sample - Word Format

    Why Should I Use Story Maps?

    Story maps are essential tools to help students understand a story and its elements. The use of a story map helps improve students’ literary comprehension. This is because they can visualize the different elements and comprehend them.

    A story map gives students a framework with which they can identify the elements of a story. By doing this, students are able to comprehend how various aspects of a story are interconnected.

    On another note, it allows students of varying literary prowess to expertly organize information. Students can plan and organize their thoughts in sequential order. Overall, the use of story maps helps students excel at storytelling, retelling, and writing.

    Story mapping is useful in many areas. Teachers commonly utilize story mapping in language and art classes to help students identify the elements of a literary work. The common areas where teachers use story mapping are language and art which allows students to identify the elements of a literary work. These elements include the characters in the story, setting, theme, problem, and solution. Story mapping is also effective in history and science subjects. Teachers can use story maps to help students solve open-ended math problems. Furthermore, students can use them in social studies. In each case, teachers should encourage their students to use positional words. This adds depth and creativity to their writing.

    How it Works

    The ideology behind story mapping follows a sequential pattern. This allows students to interact with the elements present in the story.

    You should utilize the following procedures to complete this activity successfully:

    Step 1: Discuss the main components of the story

    A story’s comprehenssiveness is related to a number of factors. The characters, story’s setting, plot, and theme are the main components of making a good book. Another excellent approach would be to look at the story’s beginning, middle, and end. The writer’s job is to define each element in the best way possible. 

    Step 2: Teaching students the basics of story mapping

    It is imperative that, as a teacher, you instill the basics of story mapping in your students. If they have access to the right tools and proper guidance, they can excel at story mapping. In addition, this improves their storytelling, retelling, and writing skills.

    Teachers should teach students to understand questions, comprehend language, and express themselves. Once the students reach certain milestones, teachers can begin building their vocabulary. These skills are vital as they serve as the building blocks of communication.

    Step 3: Use a story map template

    A story map template is a structured story map with slots for each story element. There are different templates, each targeting specific components of a book. The most common templates used in story mapping focus on the basic elements. This focuses on the story’s beginning, middle, and end. This revolves around the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Others focus on more advanced structures such as plots, conflict, and character development. 

    Using a template makes teaching students story mapping easier than creating one all by yourself. You can select one that is appropriate for your student’s level. You can also filter your options to ensure they contain the components you want to emphasize. All you have to do is select the appropriate story map template for your students, get them to read and understand it, and then they can begin filling in the details.

    Step 4: Completing the story map

    Now the students should fill the story map template with the required elements. They must do this based on their understanding of the story and what a story map is. Then, all that remains is to review their work to ensure they did it correctly. 

    What Should a Story Map Include?

    A story is composed of many elements. However, certain elements appear as compulsory inclusions in any story map template. This is because they form the story’s core, and without them, the story would be meaningless.

    The following are the essential elements in a standard story mapping template:


    The characters of a story are the people performing all the actions. After reading a story, lead a discussion with your class regarding the many characters. A great way to start is to list the different characters in the story map template. Ask them to describe the characters’ names, physical appearances, and personalities. You can proceed a step further by discussing how the characters interact with each other in the story. Ask about how each character will respond when placed in a particular situation. This will help with the visualization of the characters while stimulating the students’ creativity.


    Discuss the story’s setting with your students to explore their perspective. The time and location of an event determine the setting of a story. As part of the learning process, change the story’s setting and ask the students how they feel about the change. This will compel them to be creative with their answers. Apply this same strategy to other stories. You might make it even more imaginative by setting the story in the present and asking for their feedback. This should be sufficient for them to understand the idea of a story’s setting. 


    Every good story has a problem that the characters have to overcome. Some stories come with a series of problems that the characters must overcome as they journey to the end. For example, Peter Pan had Captain Hook, the Three Little Pigs had the big, bad wolf, etc. These are the key components that make the story interesting and keep the readers engaged. Review the storybook and have your students list the problems on their mapping template.


    The plot is how a writer arranges a series of events in a story. The plot serves as the foundation of the story. A story’s plot is integral because it teaches us about the characters. The students might find it challenging to understand the plot, depending on their age and class. Writing it on the template would be more difficult. To ease this process, you can identify the plot in your favorite stories.


    A story’s theme is the central message the entire story is trying to convey. Read some of your favorite stories with your students and have them try to identify the message at the end of the story. By doing this, you will help develop their planning and sequencing abilities.


    There is no better way to end a good story than by solving the problem in it. Stories can either have happy or sad endings. Ask your students to make a list of the solutions to each of the problems in the book. Then, to make things interesting, ask them to give their own solutions to these problems. You will find many of them to be quick thinkers, and their solutions might even surprise you. The class will be more productive this way.

    Story Mapping Difficulties and How to Improve It

    A good number of students experience story-mapping difficulties. Students having such difficulties find it hard to recount events in detail. This is because they cannot grasp the order of events and convey it. They also experience difficulties organizing their thoughts in a proper sequence. This directly translates to their struggles with class participation and group tasks. They also have difficulties in social interaction. These challenges frequently emerge at a young age and are manifested during story mapping.

    Students facing difficulties with story mapping struggle with language comprehension, retaining information, and planning, among others. In addition, they exhibit a severe lack of concentration and coordination, as they are unable to organize their thoughts and communicate them. These problems can be transitional. If left unattended, they can affect skill development in the long run. This would mean that they would grow up without the needed skills to function optimally in society.

    On the bright side, there are activities that a child can do to help with their difficulties with story mapping. First of all, teachers should encourage these students to read more of their favorite books. This will contribute to the expansion of their idea pool. They should encourage the kids to develop different ideas when reading a book. That way, they will be able to come up with alternate beginnings, middles, and ends. Teachers should also introduce model languages in cases where the student’s replies are always short. This will encourage students’ creativity and help them expand their ideas. Teachers can also implement visual aids in their teaching strategies. This will assist the students with recounting details of events and information in general.

    Another great approach is to use descriptive expressions when discussing the events in a storybook or TV show. This helps students better visualize and memorize events. Teachers should also opt for using nonfiction as opposed to fiction when teaching. Using real-life events would make the class more interactive. This is because each student has had some life experiences, and using nonfiction will help them relate better. More importantly, they should encourage these kids to be creative all the time. Teachers should encourage them to write stories to develop their skills.

    In addition, parents ought to engage in these activities themselves with their kids. They should take time out of their schedule to read books with their kids. This would result in a significant improvement in the child’s ability to map stories. In more severe cases, parents should seek therapeutic interventions for their children. A specialist will be able to help in areas where both the teacher and parents are lacking. 

    Final Thoughts

    The introduction of story maps improves the process of learning. A standard story map helps students visualize the different aspects of a story better. It increases their ability to comprehend, structure, and convey their thoughts. This gives them an advantage in storytelling, retelling, and writing. For a teacher, the proper implementation of a story map can make a lot of difference.

    It is, therefore, noteworthy to get a good story map template. The use of story map templates is ideal, as it saves time and the effort that goes into preparing one. There are different story map templates, and they all fit perfectly into particular situations. For teachers, using a standard story map template and proper story mapping techniques will give their students an advantage in storytelling, retelling, and writing.

    About This Article

    Alexander Ruiz
    Authored by:
    Educational Consulting, Test Prep Tutoring, College Application Consulting
    Alexander Ruiz stands as the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute in Claremont, California, a distinguished establishment offering tailored educational plans, specialized subject and test prep tutoring, and comprehensive college application consulting. With a rich experience spanning over a decade and a half in the education sector, Alexander's approach transcends traditional teaching. He empowers students not just academically, but also fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence, essential tools for holistic development. Alexander's academic credentials, a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University, further enhance his ability to guide students towards their academic and personal aspirations.

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