Story retelling is an ongoing core kindergarten skill and takes place when a student is able to comprehend a story and retell it in their own words. A retell should include key details like characters, the setting, the problem, main events (BME) and solution of the story.
Kindergarten students do most story retells from listening to a story read aloud. Because of this, I feel it’s super important to select high quality and engaging texts to help develop a real love for reading. For me, I’m drawn to a silly or feel good story that opens up the floor for a great conversation. I want it to be a memorable and lovable story that they’ll want to tell and retell!
My Master’s is actually in Library Science, so I’m extremely passionate about book selection AND story retelling for littles. So much that… I’ve married them into a series of monthly retelling activities, using high quality picture books, that work perfect in a kindergarten and first grade classroom.
Pre, During and After Reading:
Set your students up for success! Book talk the text prior to reading. When reading, an interactive read aloud goes along way with comprehension, I love to occasionally stop and really dig into an illustration or get student input when reading aloud. Whether you retell on day one or later, your kiddos will need to recall key details, and I love doing it with multiple and varied exposure using a single story.
I like to start and review with a retelling visual like the retelling hand! You can grab a free retelling hand by clicking here. Review the parts of a story retell and then give the kiddos time to “turn and talk” to recall information in the story together.
I love board games and just games in general. They’re engaging, casual and get you TALKING and moving a little bit! After the kiddos have spent time with a partner, I like to take it up a notch and retell it in a gaming setting. My retelling activities generally include a low-prep game to help the kiddos start chatting alongside some visual support.
Anchor Chart: Shared Writing and Sequence:
After double exposure with a buddy, it’s time to come together and discuss the retell. Review and record the characters and setting. For the sequence portion, students will help you order the events. Once the events have been sequenced, students will help come up with the beginning, middle and end to wrap up the retell (great shared writing practice). If you’re looking for interactive writing opportunities, scripting the BME sentences would also be a great way for students to come up and assist with writing. The picture card activity works great on chart paper, a pocket chart or even repurposed later on using a pocket chart in a literacy center. *all corresponding activities can be found here.
The Retelling CRAFT or Printable Option:
To offer a chance for independent practice, the story craft or cut & paste printable will allow the individual student to practice sequence and retelling the story at their own pace and sharpen fine motor skills. I’ve always told my students a retell activity is a keepsake… because it’s almost like you’re taking the book home to read it to a loved one. This retell activity supports the mentor text Florette by Anna Walker. *all corresponding activities can be found here.
The written and illustrated graphic organizer is another way for students to show their comprehension of the story after reading and practice writing. If you’re making a follow-up literacy center with the picture cards in a pocket chart, this printable (or any of the others within the kit) would be a great add-on.
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