Date of Award

Spring 2000

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Morris Beers

Second Advisor

Linda Schloner

Third Advisor

Scott D. Robinson


There are many ways students can communicate their thoughts and ideas. Written expression in particular can allow students to reveal their personal feelings and knowledge on various subjects. A possible means to improve this form of expression is to use story maps and graphic organizers to visualize their ideas, explicitly identifying and writing down the characters, settings, plots, and themes of a story. This study investigates the effectiveness of using story maps and graphic organizers as a prewriting activity for writing stories with first grade students. It also investigates students’ feelings towards the use of story maps as a means to improve their writing. The author provided six weeks of supplemental writing instruction in a first-grade classroom which included several writing activities each week. Students read and discussed stories, then brainstormed ideas for their own stories. Ideas were written on a story map and students answered questions about their feelings towards both reading and writing. Completed stories were then scored and compared to stories written by classes which did not use the story map mode of instruction. The author found that there was no significant difference between pre and post test scores for the experimental group. The use of story maps did not change the students’ ability to write stories. When given a choice in the final week of the study whether to use a story map or not, most students did not use the map.