Story Retelling

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Being able to retell information is an important academic and social skill. It is also a wonderful formative assessment that can truly show a child’s strengths if they are strong in comprehension, but weak in writing or spelling. Additionally, retelling skills are transferable to summarizing, and translating oral retelling to written summaries helps students shine who might be uncomfortable talking, but are great at communicating on paper.

Story Retelling Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Story Retelling
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice retelling a story
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 1-3 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The ability to retell information is an important academic and social skill.  The lesson includes a Retelling Checklist, which can be used as a formative assessment that can truly show a child’s strengths if they are strong in comprehension, but weak in writing or spelling.  Additionally, retelling skills are transferable to summarizing, and translating oral retelling to written summaries helps students shine who might be uncomfortable talking, but are great at communicating on paper.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Before beginning the warm up activity, read through the classic fairy tale, Red Riding Hood. There are many versions, but I recommend the James Marshall version, which can be accessed here as a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeoehj3tn0Q

Here is a more “traditional version” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coj-_tBIm0g

Here is a text to read through. http://pinkmonkey.com/dl/library1/story089.pdf

  1. Call your students together in the front of the room. Ask your students who has heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood before. To refresh their memories, or give them a new perspective (because there are many different adaptations of this classic fairy tale), read or show them the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
  2. After reading the story, write the word “Retell” on the board. Ask students if they can define the word for you. Help them break down the word by explaining “re” in front of a word means to do again, as in repeat or return. To tell, means to speak or share information. Explain when you ask students to tell you what they’ve just heard or read. Ask students, “When you tell someone about how your day was, or what happened at a birthday party, how do you tell them about it?” Let students respond. After several share, ask students if they typically start at the beginning of their day, or at the beginning of an event. Say, “If I asked you how your day was, you would say, “ I went to bed, then I went to school, I had a great dinner, but gym was hard… It would confuse people! That’s all out of order. When you retell information, whether it’s about your day or a story you’ve read, tell it in the correct order, from beginning to end.”
  3. Begin making an anchor chart, with the first bullet point as “Retell events in order from beginning to end.” At this point, have students go around and retell the story of Red Riding Hood. Ask a student to share ONE detail from the story, then pass it to another student who volunteers. Each student can tell one piece of information only. Remind them they’re trying to retell from start to finish.
  4. After the students have retold the story, ask what information was most important out of the story. Take student volunteers to answer. When they’re done sharing, discuss how when you retell about a day or retell a story, you may not need to tell every single detail. For example, say “If I ask how your day was, you will not say, “Well, I woke up, and brushed my teeth for two minutes and ten seconds, then I found my socks… etc. Each detail of your day may be important to you, but in a story, you have to focus on important information the listener needs to know.” Add another bullet point on the anchor chart, “Retell events that are most important!”.
  5. Add another bullet that ties to the previous point, “Provide the right amount of detail- not too much, not too little.” Say, “Just like we discussed not telling every second of your day, and concentrating on important information, you have to have some details. Details shape the story and connect the important events together. Make sure you provide enough detail to help your audience understand what is happening, but don’t give them so much that the story drags out or gets confusing.”
  6. Add a purpose for retelling to the bottom of the anchor chart. Ask students, “Why is retelling important?” Take class volunteers. Then say, “Retelling is important because it shows how much information you remember. Retelling is important because it is a way to share information with someone else.” Keep the anchor chart up on display for the remainder of the Story Retelling lesson plan and activities. It should look like this:
How to Retell a Story or Information
Retell events in order from beginning to end.

Retell events that are most important!

Provide just enough detail, not too much or too little.

Why is it important to retell?  To share important information or stories.

To show what we have learned.

To help us recall what we heard.

  1. In partners, students will complete the first retelling activity page. There are two sets of Activity Pages, and A and B. Partner up As with Bs if at all possible. Check their progress as you walk around the room.
  2. Students independently complete the practice page.
  3. Select another short book from your classroom library. Read the story aloud, and have students retell the story to a peer, using the attached checklist (instructional pages). They can also come up to you to orally retell the story, one on one, and you may use the attached checklist for each student as a formative assessment.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.2

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more reading resources?  Check out our other Reading Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade

Subject

Reading