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Reading novels can seem daunting to students; details about characters, settings, and key events can get lost in students’ brains between the first page and the last.

Storyboard That to the rescue!

Book Summary

By creating a book summary with our traditional storyboard layout (shown below), students can easily remember important things from the story and use it to study for an exam or prepare for a project! It is especially helpful to create book summaries with denser novels, but it also allows students to get creative in how they visually represent the events of each chapter.

Students can fill in one cell every time they finish a chapter. Alternatively, they can wait until the end of the novel and create the entire storyboard at once! This would challenge students to remember key details from each chapter all at once, while filling it in as they read would challenge them to be succinct in summarizing each chapter.

The example below can be found in our lesson plan for Silas Marner by George Eliot.

Plot Diagram

Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop a greater understanding of literary structures. Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram.

In the example below, students can create a visual plot diagram of major events in the award-winning book, The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore.

Chapter Summary

Creating a chapter summary helps students identify the important events in each chapter and provides teachers with an engaging "check in" activity to see how well students are understanding the story. This activity asks students to identify three major events that occurred in the assigned chapters. In the last cell, students can choose their favorite quote, scene or character to illustrate and share why it is their favorite. Teachers may choose to do this activity every few chapters throughout the novel study and students will end up with a comprehensive plot summary in storyboards!

The example below is a chapter summary from the book As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds.

Here is another example of a chapter summary using the spider map format, from the book Stuart Little by E.B. White.

Whichever method you choose, your students will love having a comprehensive, colorful and informative storyboard to review when it comes time for quizzes, tests, and projects!

How to Create a Visual Summary of a Story with Storyboard That


Choose the format

Decide on the format you want to use for the visual summary, such as a traditional storyboard layout, a plot diagram, or chapter summaries.


Select the key moments

Identify the key moments, events, or chapters you want to include in the visual summary. This could be important plot points, character developments, or significant quotes.


Create the storyboard

Use Storyboard That to create your visual summary. Select the appropriate layout and number of cells based on your chosen format. Each cell represents a specific moment, event, or chapter.


Fill in the details

In each cell, provide a concise summary or representation of the selected moment, event, or chapter. You can use images, text, and characters to visually convey the information.


Add annotations or explanations (optional)

If desired, include annotations or explanations to provide additional context or insights for each cell. This can help deepen the understanding of the story and its elements.


Customize and finalize

Customize the visuals, colors, and styles of your storyboard to make it visually appealing and cohesive. Review and revise the content to ensure clarity and accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Creating a Visual Summary of a Story

How can creating a visual summary of a story benefit students' reading comprehension?

Creating a visual summary of a story can benefit students' reading comprehension by providing a visual representation of the story's key elements, characters, and themes. Students can use the visual summary to visualize the story's main ideas and connect them with the text, which can help them retain the information and better understand the story.

How can creating a visual summary of a story support students' language development?

Creating a visual summary of a story can support students' language development by providing opportunities for them to practice expressing themselves in a clear and concise manner. By using images and symbols to represent their ideas, students can develop their vocabulary and improve their ability to convey complex ideas in a visually appealing manner. By using symbols, colors, and images to represent the story's key elements, students can tap into their creativity and imagination to create a unique and visually appealing summary.

How can I help students who struggle with creating visual summaries?

For students who struggle with creating visual summaries, teachers and parents can provide additional support and guidance. This can include modeling the process of creating a visual summary, providing graphic organizers or templates, or offering feedback and suggestions for improvement. It's also important to remember that not all students may excel at creating visual summaries, and alternative assessment methods can be used to ensure that all students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the material.

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