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Imagination and Storytelling #2: Story Mapping

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students are introduced to the concept of story mapping through a modern classic, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To teach the technique of story mapping so that children can use a story map to retell the tale.

Suggested Time:

40-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each child will create a story map of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.  Children will then use their story maps to retell the story to a partner.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind children that last week they learned how to sequence a story: How to put parts of a story in order using numbers.  Today they will record a story in a different way, by mapping it!  With a story map, it is easy to retell the story.

2. Main:

Teach If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (or any of the other books from the “If You Give . . . . “ series.)  Work through a few pages so that the kids get the idea of how the book is structured, then start your story map on flipchart paper.  As you scribe the story in simple illustrations, let the kids to the same thing on their papers.  Please see the attached photo for an idea of one way the story map might look.  This is not about the drawings, it’s simply an effort to capture the ideas so that the kids can use their “notes” to retell the story.

Note that in the photo I have drawn pictures for each stage in the story.  But, I have also numbered them.  The numbering should be familiar from last week’s sequencing activity.  But, we’ve also identified the beginning, middle and end of the story.  Normally a story map identifies either beginning, middle, and end or characters, setting, and plot/summary.  Because this lesson is designed for younger students, I’ve kept it very simple.

After finishing the story and the story maps, have the class retell the tale in their own words.  Usually they can do it!

After the class retells the story, have them tuck their papers and pencils away and have the class form a big circle.  Using the flipchart story map, have the kids act out the entire story in simple gestures.  The kids love to do this!  They know what is coming next and can’t wait to invent a gesture or action to fit the story.  Sometimes I have them work in pairs with one person as the mouse and one person as the child.  Again, this is a form of “retell.”  It will work for your EAL children and for very young children who don’t yet have the skills to write out the plot line or spell character names.

3. Conclusion:

Conclude by pointing out that today’s story map is very similar to last week’s sequencing activity.  The best stories are well written.  They proceed in an order that makes sense and they have a beginning, a middle, and an end.   As a listener and learner, you can figure out the order and the structure and show your thinking in a story map!

  1. Books from the “If You Give . . . . “ series by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
  2. Laura Numberoff official web site: https://lauranumeroff.com/
  3. More information about story maps: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/story_maps
  4. Pencils
  5. Paper
  6. Clipboards (if children are sitting together on the carpet)
  7. Flipchart paper and markers (for scribing the story map for the class)

The “If You Give . . . “ books are both circular tales and cautionary tales.  They can be used for several teaching purposes but they are also great fun.  The words and illustrations fit wonderfully together to keep kids thinking and captivated.  The books have been widely acclaimed and universally loved since the first book was published in 1985.   You can use them to teach story mapping, as I’ve done here, or other literacy skills.

Recommended books for this lesson:

All books are by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond.

  1. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  2. If You Give a Moose a Muffin
  3. If You Give a Pig a Pancake
  4. If You Give a Cat a Cupcake
  5. If You Give a Dog a Donut
  6. If You Give a Mouse a Brownie
Key Terms:

Circular Stories, Laura Numeroff, Predictions, Cause and Effect

Story Map