Mapping What You Read

When you're done reading and have a good understanding of the meaning of the words used, it's time to think about the ideas or concepts that the writer shared. Some articles include a lot of ideas and concepts, so it's helpful to be able to organize them in a way that's easy to refer to. Concept maps help break down large chunks of information into what's important. This helps you understand and remember what you read. Watch this video on creating a concept map, and then complete the activity.

On a concept map, an arrow points from the concept to a related idea or fact. For this activity, read the following article and then complete the 3 multiple choice questions by selecting all possible ideas/facts that can be linked to the given concept.


Direct democracy occurs when policy questions go directly to the voters for a decision. These decisions include funding, budgets, candidate removal, candidate approval, policy changes, and constitutional amendments. Not all states allow direct democracy, nor does the United States government. 

Direct democracy takes many forms. It may occur locally or statewide. Local direct democracy allows citizens to propose and pass laws that affect local towns or counties. Towns in Massachusetts, for example, may choose to use town meetings, which is a meeting comprised of the town’s eligible voters, to make decisions on budgets, salaries, and local laws. To learn more about what type of direct democracy is practiced in your state, visit the University of Southern California’s Initiative & Referendum Institute. This site also allows you to look up initiatives and measures that have appeared on state ballots.

Statewide direct democracy allows citizens to propose and pass laws that affect state constitutions, state budgets, and more. Most states in the western half of the country allow citizens all forms of direct democracy, while most states on the eastern and southern regions allow few or none of these forms. States that joined the United States after the Civil War are more likely to have direct democracy, possibly due to the influence of Progressives during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Progressives believed citizens should be more active in government and democracy, a hallmark of direct democracy.

Source: Excelsior Online Writing Lab,
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2021, 2:09 PM