Harry Wong
Jan 2017
Vol 14 No 1

How to Introduce a Story to Build Retelling Skills

By Teachers.Net Community

Posted by Karen Mack on the Kindergarten Teachers Chatboard

For children to be able to retell a story accurately, they need to KNOW the story. They need to “own” it. These are all things you can do in your classroom to help your students:

1. Before reading a story aloud, show the class the actual book and tell them who the author is and what an author does. Tell them who the illustrator is and what an illustrator does. Take them on a “picture walk”. This is where you just show the pictures, without reading the text. No commentary at all. Just show the pictures.

2. Go back to the beginning, and tell them the author and illustrator. Read the story aloud. Read dramatically. Make sure the children are being attentive to the story (not talking, eyes on you, mouth closed, ears open, legs like a pretzel, hands in the lap).


3. Have them tell you what they liked about the story. What character did they like? Was there a problem in the story? How was the problem solved?

4. Another day, show the book again. Tell the children that they are going to make a story web. In the center circle write the title of the book. If the story has a lot of characters, you can do a character web. For example, for the book “Who Took the Farmer’s Hat?” (main middle circle), you would draw a line outwards from there for each character in the book: the farmer, the bird, the goat, the duck, the fish, etc.

5. You can take a story that has a fairly clearly defined
beginning, middle, and end and have the children illustrate
that. Take a regular sheet of paper and tri-fold it. That
gives you the space for beginning, middle, end.

6. If you read a story aloud, and the children respond with “Read it again! Read it again!” DO IT. For whatever reason, that story has struck a chord with them. You’ll get better responses from children who love a story!

7. Do a compare/contrast activity with different versions of the same story. In December we do this with 5 different versions of The Gingerbread Man. I’ll do it again with The Three Bears, and with Jack and The Beanstalk. Make a chart that shows the details of the comparison and post it.

8. Bring art and music into the retelling. The year we made a life size giant to go out into the hallway was the year all my students could retell ANY giant story. We make “ink splot” clouds with dark blue paper and white paint to go with “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”. We make Cat in The Hat hats for that story.

9. Sequencing activities are also great for non-fiction books. First, second, third, fourth, fifth. First, next, last. The growth of a pumpkin seed to a pumpkin, a tadpole to a frog, and a caterpillar into a butterfly are all good examples of this type of recall.

Hope this helps!



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 and is filed under *ISSUES, March 2011, Teachers.Net Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.8 No.3 March 2011

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Learning Objectives: The Heart of Every Lesson
For lessons to come to life in the classroom, they must emanate from the heart....

Cover Story by Todd Nelson
Tiger Mother, David Brooks, Mud and Snow
For lessons to come to life in the classroom, they must emanate from the heart.

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