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A Story Road Map


A Story Road Map is a strategy that encourages young readers to identify main events in a story, recognize sequence, and visualize ideas and events in a story. After reading a story, students draw a road map of the story. The road map includes written summaries of and pictures illustrating the main ideas in the story. The road map indicates the order in which they occur.


The purpose of A Story Road Map is to encourage students to use the following comprehension strategies:

  • Identify main events
  • Recognize sequence
  • Visualize

How to Use A Story Road Map

  1. Choose a text. This strategy is intended to be used with fiction.
  2. Before students begin reading the story, tell them that they will be creating a story road map when they are finished reading. Explain that a story road map is a map of a story. To create a story road map, students will draw a road on a map (a piece of blank paper). The road represents the entire story they will be reading. Along the road, they will indicate stopping places. These stopping places indicate the main events in the story. Tell students that their map will include no fewer than three stopping places, and no more than five. Encourage students to decide what the main events are in the story as they read. Students may want to jot down ideas as they are reading. Have students read the story.
  3. Give all students a piece of construction paper. This is their map. Have students draw a road from one end of the paper to the other.
  4. Have students put the same number of dots along the road as the number of main events they will be including on their maps. Remind students that they should include at least three, and no more than five main events. Dots should be spaced far enough away from one another so that one or two sentences can be written and a picture can be drawn next to each dot.
  5. Have students decide at which end their road begins and ends. At the beginning of the road, have students write, “START.” At the end of the road have students write, “FINISH.”
  6. Next to the first dot, have students write one or two sentences that describe the first event.
  7. Next to the first dot, have students draw a picture that illustrates the first event.
  8. Have students do the same with the remaining dots. The events should go in the order in which they occur, from where it says “START” to where it says “FINISH.”
  9. Encourage students to decorate the rest of their road maps.
  10. Have students share their road maps with one another. As a class, discuss the different events that students chose to include as “main events” in their maps. Discuss the sequence of those events.
  11. Follow up with questions about what caused specific events or why characters acted as they did.

For students in grades 3-8, see: Visual Tools for Differentiating Reading & Writing Instruction: Strategies to Help Students Make Abstract Ideas Concrete & Accessible by Roger Essley with Linda Rief & Amy levy Rocci. (2008)