Monday, October 15, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Retell Stories

I remember when I first became a teacher we had Objectives instead of Standards. One of our Objectives read: "The student will retell a story." We don't have a standard that says that, so is retelling still important?
First, we must look at exactly what retelling is. Retelling is an accounting of a story's key points told in sequence. A retelling usually includes characters, settings, problems, and solution or the main idea of the text.
Does that mean it is important or not? YES, it is important! Often retelling is the first question asked when we are checking for understanding, "Can you tell me what happened?" Retelling allows a child to monitor their understanding. By retelling a story, a child has shown evidence of comprehension.

There are many ways to provide retelling experiences for your kids. Here are a few of our favorites.
Cup Stacking
Cup stacking is a fun way to sequence the characters or the settings in the story. Invite the children to use the book to sequence the characters and place the cups in a line. Then, as the child retells the story, they stack one cup on top of the other.
We then let our kids make this easy retelling strip so they would have one to take home to retell their parents.
Story Necklaces
Necklaces are another great way to sequence characters, settings, or events from a story. Invite the children to cut out the animals and punch a hole in each one. Next, use the book to place the animal in order and lay them in a line. As the child retells the story, they lace the animals, separated by pasta, onto a piece of  yarn. Tie the ends together and wear the story necklace!!
Paper Bag Stories
Paper bags provide an amazing retelling tool because they provide the kids with a place to store the pieces when they aren't in use.  For this story, "There Was an Old Monster", we glued a monster picture to the front of a large paper bag and cut a slit for the mouth. After I read the story, we sequenced the characters into the pocket chart. Next, we retold the story as we fed the monster each character.
Then, the kids made their own retelling prop using a lunch sized paper sack. After making the retelling props, we add them to our bag of books for repeated retelling during read to self and read to others. After a few weeks, we take them home.
To retell Ten Timid Ghosts, we used a paper bag to make a haunted house. The children add the characters to the bag as they retell the story.
We also used a paper bag in "Bear Snores On". We used the large bag to create a cave and used paint to add some details. After reading the story, we once again sequenced the characters into the pocket chart, always referring back to the text. Then, as we retold the story, we added the animals to the cave.
The kids each made their own caves using the lunch sized bags.
Retelling Headbands
Retelling headbands provide a great way to keep parents informed with the things that we are doing at school. How many times do kids bring their book-bags back to school with EVERYTHING you sent home still INSIDE? Did the parents check? By wearing the headbands home, the parents SEE it and ask, "What is that on your head?". Now the kids have the opportunity to retell the story again!
We made headbands for both "Big Pumpkin" and "Where's My Mummy?".
Popsicle Stick Puppets
Who doesn't have a supply of Popsicle sticks? Stick puppets have been around FOREVER! To make this fun retelling for "The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything", we glued the events from the story to popsicle sticks. The kids store the puppets inside their baskets to retell again and again.
We also made stick puppets for retelling "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". As the children turned the pages in their books, the characters interact with the picture.
All of the pieces, patterns, and props are included in this unit that I wrote with my good friend Kimberly Jordano. You can find it here:

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