My students L-O-V-E sticky notes!

I have introduced them to how to use sticky notes to capture important things that we are worried won’t “stick” around in our minds. They can help us to plan, make lists, move ideas, and more

I have been teaching reading comprehension with sticky notes for quite some time. The method became even more useful when I began using what I call a  “modified workshop approach” in my first grade classroom. If I handed students a full page response activity, they would sigh and walk to their spots with disappointment, however, if I handed them a sticky note to do the very same task, they lit up with excitement!

I’ve decided to capture some of the prompts and activities I’ve asked students to do using sticky notes using sticky note comprehension mats. These mats are great to print on cardstock, laminate, and send students away to use them again and again! I tend to like students to place their sticky notes in their reading notebooks or on a large chart paper depending on the task at hand.

Here is what a sticky note lesson might look like:


I tend to start students with identifying the parts of the story one by one. I usually start with character, since they are drawn to the people or animals with the action in the story.

Step 1: Read a story (or refer to a familiar story).

Step 2: Identify the characters together.

Step 3: Sketch the characters on sticky notes.

Step 4: Pass out familiar books to groups of 2-3 children.

These might be past favorite read alouds or books you’ve used in reading groups.

Step 5: Group/ Guided practice

Students will reread/ scan through the book and work together to sketch characters and place their sticky notes on the mat.

Step 6: Discuss

Things that might come up are, “We only had 3 characters” or the opposite “We had 5 characters” This is a great time to address the logistical issues and how students can address them and solve these problems.

Step 7: Give students sticky note mats and send them to read.

Step 8: About halfway through reading time give each student 2 sticky notes.

This is where they will sketch characters from one story.  If they need more sticky notes, go ahead and offer them as needed.

Step 9: Come back together to discuss characters they found on their sticky note mats.

Step 10: Have students attach all character sticky notes to a large sheet of chart paper.

The next session I may have students read across many books during that time and collect characters from different stories!

I have found this routine has really helped my students to participate in the task in an engaged way while using the sticky notes as a tool.

I have created story part mats to address Character, Setting, Problem, Solution, and an overall Story Part mat here.

I have included a free sampling for my newsletter subscribers here!

Sticky note comprehension mats are a great way to engage students! These story part mats are FREE for subscribers!