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This is one more reading lesson using a story map (circular story)


Language Arts  


PreK, K, 1, 2, 3  

Reading Lesson, Story Map

Shelley Yamnitz

November 6, 1996

Strategy: Story Map/Circle Story


Student will demonstrate better understanding of internal story grammar through structured exploration of the book Where the Wild Things Are.


Most children’s books have a similar internal structure (story grammar) that they are written in. It is important for students to be able to read and understand the format of these stories. By specifically pointing out the component parts of a story map, the students will begin to understand how books are written. This will be a guide to aid them in their comprehension, and also guide them in their own writings.


A copy of the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Several sheets of paper labeled:



Events 1-6




Introduce the book to the students. Read the title and author to them, and ask them what they think the story might be about. After they respond, read the book to them, inviting them to read along whenever they want to. Then begin the process of using a story map to divide the story into its various components. Show them the paper titled “setting”. Explain to them what the word setting means if needed, and then write down whatever they tell you for the setting. Repeat the process with “characters”. Then explain to the students that their book is divided into separate “events”. Have them dictate what they perceive each event to be, and write down their response. Finally, give the students the opportunity to come up with their interpretation of the story’s solution. Make sure that for every component of the story, you write down the students’ response word-for word. At this point, emphasize to the students that the story begins and ends at the same place (constituting a circle story).

After identifying the story’s components, the students can illustrate each event. If time allows, they can also draw their favorite character in the story.


The story map strategy turned out to be one of our best lessons at Shepard. The students all loved the story, and it held their attention the entire time. Dividing the story into separate components and events was an excellent strategy to build their comprehension. It was a very focused method, but yet it encompassed the broader context of developing understanding of an entire book. At every stage of the story map, the students were able to provide accurate information, which was good evidence that they had developed a complete understanding of the story. It should be noted, however, that all of the students were very familiar with the story (Ethan seemed to have most of it memorized). This was certainly one factor of their success with the lesson.

Having the students illustrate the story’s components was also a big success. First we allowed them to draw their favorite character in the story, whether it was Max or one of the Wild Things. Then, to scaffold their comprehension even further, they were asked to illustrate some of the pages we had written on to map the story. Doing this helped to reassure us that they had a full understanding of the story’s elements, as evidenced by the accuracy of their drawings. This was our last session at Shepard, but a good extension of this lesson would have been to allow the students to completely illustrate the story map pages we had created together, along with any additional illustrations they contribute, into a bound book for each of them.

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