Need a Map? A Story Map?

Posted by Big Universe on Dec 19, 2012 4:14:23 PM

When looking at several different sites for something the other day, I came across this statement that really made me take notice, stop and think:

"Story maps or climax charts are old characters on the block of literary analysis, for good reason. Story maps visually present tension within a text and provide a fantastic, simple visual representation of rising conflict and the resolution there of. Creating a tangible depiction of the abstract concept of tension and conflict allows students to trace the rising / falling nature of the plot and naturally lead to critical reflection of the narrative."

I remember being asked to fill out story map.

I remember asking my students to create story maps.

I am not sure that I ever realized what story maps led "to a critical reflection of the narrative" as is stated in the quote above.

In order to correctly complete a story map, it does (or should) require one to stop and actually think about the story that is being read.

In my mind, speed reading and being able to call all the words without understanding most of what is being read (or even anything that has been read) does not qualify as reading. I notice that when I say "reading" I pause before I say the word, then say the word slowly, and pause at the end.

When I think of a story map, literary analysis is not the skill that jumps out in my mind. Looking at and thinking about the statement above, I do see that skill in many ways. Even though students may try to fill out a story map without really reading the story, it is pretty evident when that happens since the story really needs to be read throughly and thought about prior to chart completion. To be able to fully create story maps, there is some level of inference involved.


Below are a few great examples of story maps and more information about them:

I can see reading a book on Big Universe and then completing part or all of the charts as a whole class or small group on an interactive white board or monitor as a form of guided practice to show how to complete one.
In my opinion, the explanations and discussion that should accompany story maps are as important as the completion of the map itself. Listening to these can provide some informal assessment to help the teacher gauge understanding and analysis.
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