Activity Overview

In Grades 2-4, students are beginning to transition from retelling a book orally, to summarizing lengthier texts both orally, and in writing. This skill can be challenging with chapter books because students have to synthesize many details, and think critically about importance of events. A storyboard provides students with a way to organize their thinking and improve their summarizing skills.

Consider having students plan their story board using a blank template prior to creating the full storyboard online. Students should begin with the narrative in each box, before adding character dialogue. This will allow them to focus on summarizing and determining importance, before getting distracted by the details of the storyboard. Students can also be given a set number of frames to use for the storyboard, to help them be concise. After planning on a template, students can compare the important events they chose with a partner, and the class could discuss why different events in the story were included in the storyboard over others.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of Charlotte's Web.

  1. Make pictures that show two main events from the beginning of the story.
  2. Make pictures that show two main events from the middle of the story.
  3. Make pictures that show two main events from the end of the story.
  4. Write a sentence under each picture.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/3/2] Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/3/5] Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Sequence of Events Rubric
Create a storyboard that shows a sequence of events. Below each cell, type in a description about the importance of that part of the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Each of the cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
One cell is out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or two or more cells are out of order.
Cells include images that accurately show events in the story and do not get in the way of understanding.
Most images show the events of the story, but some are incorrect.
The images are unclear or do not make sense with the story.
Descriptions match the images and show the change over time.
Descriptions do not always match the images or mention the importance of the event.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is very difficult to understand.

How To Explain Plot Diagrams To Younger Students


Explain Purpose

Begin by explaining the purpose of creating a plot diagram for stories. Teachers can use simple words like “important parts of the story” rather than using “plot diagram”. Teach the purpose of summarizing important parts of the story so students can understand what is expected of them.


Teach By Showing

Teachers can select an easy short story similar to Charlotte’s Web and apply the process first to that story to teach the students. For better understanding first explain the concept of beginning, middle, and end of the story and use visual elements to separate these stages for the students. Teachers can also explain event by event and utilize sequencing.


Engage Students in Analysis

Ask the students to identify which section of the plot diagram each significant plot point corresponds to when you pause at each one while reading the narrative. Take a moment to question, "What part of the plot diagram is this?" while presenting the key characters and the environment, for instance. Label it on the diagram after that.


Teach Summarization

Ask the students to explain the narrative using the finished plot diagram when it has concluded. Their comprehension of the plot's organization is strengthened by this. Teachers can also give sample texts to practice summarization.


Review and emphasize

Review plot diagrams for various stories frequently to help students retain what they have learned. As students gain confidence with the idea, gradually add stories and story structures that are more complicated.

Frequently Asked Questions About Charlotte's Web Plot Diagram

What other words can we use to explain the beginning of the story?

The "exposition" refers to the story's opening. We get to know the primary characters of the story there and discover more about the setting and the mood, which in the case of Charlotte’s Web is a farm and the main characters are Wilbur the pig, Charlotte the spider, and Fern the human who wants to save Wilbur from his tragic fate.

What happens at the end of the story?

The "resolution" refers to the conclusion of the narrative. We learn what happens to the characters and how their issues are resolved in this chapter. In "Charlotte's Web," Wilbur finds some new acquaintances and we learn about the newborn spiders. At this point in the story, all the conflicts are either resolved or given a closure.

How do the characters change as the story progresses?

Wilbur gains self-assurance and discovers the meaning of friendship and compassion as the narrative progresses. Charlotte, while being rather little, exemplifies how much one can do to support a friend.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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