Story Boards

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Story Boards

Story boards are cards on which illustrations from a picture book have been attached. Story boards are made by cutting apart two copies of a picture book and gluing the pages on pieces of tagboard. They can then be used to sequence the events of a story by lining the cards up on a chalkboard tray or hanging them on a clothesline. Students can then visualize the story and its structure in new ways and closely examine the illustrations.

Grade Levels

  • PreK-Grade 2
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • English Learners

Why Should You Use Story Boards

Teachers can use this instructional strategy because it allows students to manipulate and sequence stories and examine illustrations more carefully. Story boards present many opportunities for teaching comprehension if only a few copies of a book are available.

Scaffolding English Language Learners

Story boards are useful tools for English language learners because they can be used to preview a story before reading to get the gist, sequence a set of story boards after reading to review the events, and draw story boards after reading to share their understanding through art rather than language

How To Use This Strategy

Teachers generally use story boards with a small group of students or the whole class. Individual students can reexamine them as a part of center activities.

  1. Collect two copies of a book. Teachers use two copies of a picture book for the story boards; paperback copies are preferable because they're less expensive. In a few picture books, all illustrations are on right or left pages, so only one copy would be needed.
  2. Cut the books apart. Teachers remove the covers and separate the pages, evening out the cut edges. Sometimes teachers cut away any text that appears next to the illustrations, and at other times, they use the entire page because they want students to be able to examine the text as well as the illustrations.
  3. Attach the pages to pieces of cardboard. Teachers glue each page or double-page spread to a piece of cardboard, making sure that pages from each book are alternated so that all illustrations are included.
  4. Laminate the cards. Teachers laminate the cards so they can withstand use by students.
  5. Use the cards in sequencing activities. Teachers use the story board cards for a variety of activities, including sequencing, story structure, rereading, and word-study activities.

When To Use This Strategy

Student use storyboards for a variety of activities during literature focus units. In sequencing activities, for example, teachers pass out the cards in random order, and students line up around the classroom to sequence the story events. Story boards that include text allow students to identify words for the word wall. Students can also add words and sentences on sticky notes and attach them to story boards.

For chapter books, students can create their own story boards for each chapter. Students can divide into small groups, and each group work on a different chapter. They can then makes a poster with a detailed drawing illustrating events in the chapter. A paragraph length summary can also be added.

Common Core State Standards

  • Students make connections between the text of a story and its illustrations.
  • Students describe a character, setting, or event, drawing on specific details in the text.
  • Students identify the theme and other elements of story structure.