Teaching Key Ideas & Details using the Story Mapping Strategy

Key ideas and details include students being able to identify story elements such as character, setting, problem, and solution. A wonderful book that I think is wonderful for introducing children to the wonderful world of reading and kicking off your reading workshop is using the book A Story for Bear by Dennis Haseley and illustrated by Jim LaMarche.

This book is a fiction fantasy about a bear who discovers a love of books and reading. Bear befriends a woman who is an avid reader and although bear doesn’t understand her, he understands the feelings of the stories through her reading expression. It really is a great book.

In this blog post, I am going to give you some ideas on how to use this book to teach key ideas and details.

The common core standards are:

K.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details

1.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details
1.RL.7 – Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

2.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details
2.RL.5 – Craft and Structure
2.RL.7 – Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

3.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details

4.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details
4.RL.5 – Craft and Structure

5.RL.3 – Key Ideas and Details

Introducing the Book

If you have an Adirondack chair, bring it in to your classroom for the duration of this unit and  do your read alouds from it – Just like woman reads to bear. In this free download, I include a PowerPoint slideshow backdrop so that you can place your chair in front of it as you read the story.

You might want to have your students watch videos to learn more about bears before reading the book to them. The author of the book uses a lot of vocabulary to show how bears move, so having your students watch the bears will later help you to teach the vocabulary needed to really understand the beauty of the words in A Story for Bear.

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Story Mapping

Story mapping is simply a graphic organizer for story elements. It helps students organize the information. When students organize the information from books it helps them better comprehend the story and be able to retell it in a logical order. Story maps can be what you need for your students. In this free story mapping download, you can arrange it so students are working on the key idea and details that they are currently working on learning. So you can split it and use it anyway you see fit.

After reading the book discuss the main components of a story. First discuss the story element and what it means then discuss each element pertaining to the book. In A Story for Bear, the graphic organizer has sections for characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, problem and solution. 

Then use the anchor chart pieces to model the strategy to students. During your next reading, fill in the parts of the anchor chart as a group, model your thinking as you complete it.

Then your students can complete the bear body on their own. This is student-centered and allows students to get creative and put their own ideas down. Also it is a very nice display once the students have completed it.

A Great End to the Book

I really love this book because there are so many teaching points! If you are interested in learning more ways to use this book make sure to download my FREE supplemental freebie. But if you are ready to put the book away, do not miss this wonderful opportunity to end the book with your class with pizzazz. At the end of the book, A Story for Bear, the woman leaves all of her books to bear.

End the unit by leaving your students a collection of books like woman left bear. Just get a cloth blanket and on it put some pinecones, leaves and a stack of books from your classroom library. To make it extra special, get a realistic looking grizzly bear plushy and leave a handwritten note from bear, maybe something along the lines of “To _____’s class – Eliza would love it if you continued to read to me this year.”

Here is a cute plushy (affiliate link):

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