Creating a Timeline

About Transcript Handouts

Learn how to create a timeline to organize and remember the information you gather from the texts you read.

0:00 Owl: Welcome to How to Make a Timeline, an instructional video on reading comprehension brought to you by the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab.
0:13 As you read, you may come across passages that narrate when or how events unfold.
0:19 One way to process this information is by creating a Timeline.
0:24 A Timeline is a record of information organized chronologically.
0:29 That means it lists information according to when it happened, usually from first to last.
0:36 A Timeline can be useful for keeping track of several different kinds of information.
0:42 Most obvious are historical events, which unfold over time and thus can be tracked chronologically on a timeline.
0:49 Fictional events can also be tracked using a timeline.
0:53 For instance, you can record the stages of a story’s plot on a timeline.
0:59 Additionally, timelines can be used for tracking the steps of a process or procedure.
1:05 For instance, if you’re reading a chemistry textbook, you might use a timeline to break down the steps of a chemical reaction.
1:12 A timeline can be constructed using a simple list on a sheet of paper.
1:18 However, for this example, we’ll use a more visual method for displaying information.
1:24 This method involves displaying information chronologically from left to right using event boxes to record each step.
1:32 Now, let’s practice making a timeline from something you've read.
1:36 Imagine you've just read an interesting article online about the history of the electric guitar.
1:42 You would like to remember the most important information by placing it into a timeline that you can use as a reference after you read.
1:50 Using a blank timeline template, we'll start by writing down an appropriate title.
1:55 Let's call it “Evolution of the Electric Guitar.”
1:58 Then, fill in each box with a different event in the evolution of the electric guitar.
2:04 Make sure to organize your information chronologically and write it down from left to right.
2:09 You will need to alternate between the top and bottom row of boxes.
2:14 The first electric guitar was the Rickenbacker “Frying Pan,” which was created in 1931.
2:21 Next came the Les Paul “Log” in 1941, followed by the Fender Broadcaster in 1948.
2:28 In 1952, Gibson released its legendary Les Paul guitar, and Fender released its legendary Stratocaster guitar shortly thereafter in 1954.
2:39 1979 saw the birth of the Van Halen “Frankenstrat.”
2:43 It was closely followed by the Jackson Randy Rhoads “Flying V” in 1982.
2:49 In 1994 Ibanez released its 7-String Guitar.
2:53 Finally, 2008 saw the rise of virtual guitars with the production of the Guitar Hero Controller for the popular video game Guitar Hero.
3:03 That’s it!
3:04 Our timeline for the evolution of the electric guitar is complete!
3:08 Creating a timeline from the information you read is an excellent way to organize and remember information the next time you need it.
3:16 You can download a timeline template here.
3:22 Thanks for listening to this instructional video on How to Make a Timeline!
3:27 Visit the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab for more support with reading and writing skills.

Video Transcript Button          How To Make a Timeline Thumbnail           Black and White Thumbnail How to Make a Timeline

A timeline with blanks above and below the line for information that the user can add.


  • Grumble... Applaud... Please give us your feedback!
    • You can select multiple items.
    • Are there things in this section (or in general) that you liked or found really helpful? Please let us know...
    • Please be as specific as possible. With your help, we can make this OWL really awesome!
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.