Pre-Reading Strategy: Brainstorming Map

Title/Name of Strategy: Pre-Reading Brainstorming Map
Source: Study Guides and Strategies website []
Link: [] gave me the idea to make a map
[] a Google search helped me find this map maker

  • Brainstorming Map “Write down the most important word or short phrase (in my case the title, Black Boy) in a circle/bubble in the center. Post other important concepts (in this case, ideas that the students think of that will be related to the book based on the title) Think about the relation of outside items to the center item, add other key words and phrases (or questions). Combine concepts to expand your map, talk about how the concepts are related and discuss/ask questions.” I thought this would be a good activity to do on a computer to incorporate technology, so I used a search engine to find a map-maker. You could do this on a SmartBoard or on a computer that is connected to a projector. If these aren’t available, just a regular overhead or chalkboard would work and students would copy it down and add to it instead of having an online copy to edit. This activity also has an added bonus; you can start this as a pre-reading activity and expand it, answer the questions, expand words/phrases, and add more ideas to make this a during reading activity. For a post-reading activity, students could use this as a sort of outline for an extended definition or culminating paper or essay.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1: Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
    • The text it’s self is mentioned in the CCSS “ELA & Literacy in History/Social Studies Science, and Technical Subjects – Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks” Page 12, under Informational Texts: English Language Arts for 11th Grade and up.


  • This strategy would be useful in engaging student learning because it helps students to activate their prior knowledge of the history of racial injustice in our country in order to begin thinking about a novel they will read. They will already have a scene set in their head before they begin reading the novel so they should be able to connect ideas from the text to what they already know about the situation the author lives in. Students will be coming up with ideas themselves to add to the thinking map. They will be coming to the computer or going to the board/SmartBoard to add a bubble representing their question or idea. Students will get a chance to voice their opinion and talk with other students about their connections to the text.




Here is an quick example I made to show how it would look. Students can make an account and make their own bubble maps and save them so they can add to them as they go through the book.







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