Teaching story retell and sequencing can be complicated in the primary grades, but it is an important skill and standard to teach. The first grade Common Core State Standard is: RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson. So, it is important to remember that we aren’t only teaching about retell, but also the central message of the story. Learn more and get a FREE Hop To It story retell game to get started!
Retelling Reading Unit$10.00
Reading Unit Bundle | Reading Lessons For The YearProduct on sale
Retell Reindeer (Craftivity)$2.50
Why Do We Teach Story Retell?
Retelling a story is an important foundational skill to have in reading. It is a core skill in reading comprehension. This is a lifelong skill that they will use well into their adulthood. When students are able to explain the character, setting, problem, solution, and the key events in order, they truly have a grasp on the plot of the story and what they read.
Why is the concept hard to grasp?
Like I said earlier, I feel that learning to retell a story is truly a lifelong skill that needs to be practiced and reviewed. Plus, identifying the central message of a story can be difficult for our young students too! They are still learning so many life lessons themselves. So, exposure and direct, key lessons instruction are important when teaching retell.
Teaching Retelling of a Story
When teaching students to retell a story, I read a lot of mentor texts. Reading common, well-known fairy tales helps students remember the key events because they are familiar stories. Plus, there’s always a central message that can be easy for students to recognize.
Some of my favorites are (affiliate links included):
Using Picture Cards To Begin
In our first lesson, we read The Tortoise and the Hare. It’s a familiar story that many students probably already know. It has a simple central message that has a well-known saying (“slow and steady wins the race”). When we use picture cards, students can identify the different story elements of the story and put the events in order.
A Fun Craftivity
What young students don’t love a craftivity? I love using one with every reading unit because it’s something students enjoy, but also they still need the fine motor practice of cutting and gluing. Students identify the central message and create a turtle craft.
I also use reading passages in every reading unit. I feel it’s important for students to read a variety of texts to recognize different comprehension skills. Unfortunately (and this is a big, unfortunately), we also have to prepare students for standardized testing, so we have to expose them to a variety of reading materials and that includes not in a book. There are two different reading passages to use, depending on your students’ needs. You may actually use both at various times in your unit or even throughout the year! In one version, students read the passage and glue the pictures in order. In the other version, students read the passage and glue the sentences in the correct order.
Implementing reading centers that fit the comprehension skill you are currently teaching is important to reinforce the skill throughout your reading block. I know in the past, my reading centers typically focused on phonics, but I’ve learned that when you expose your students to what they are learning throughout your reading block, they will be able to practice their new skills in a variety of ways.
Puzzle Center: Students read the short passage and piece the pictures in the correct order on the puzzle.
Sequencing Sentences: Students read the four sentences for the card. Then, they place the sentences in the correct order of how they think the event would happen.
Sequencing Pictures: Students look at the pictures. Then, they place them in order of how they typically happen.
Graphic Organizers are great to use throughout your reading unit and even after. I like to place these in reading centers like the listening center, partner reading, and independent reading.
Retell Reading Unit Launch Sale
Grab the Retell Reading Unit here! Teach retelling and sequencing a story with fun, engaging lessons, and centers! This reading unit includes 4 comprehensive, detailed lesson plans for learning how to retell a story using story elements and the central message of a text. With clear, extensive lessons to teach, you can feel safe leaving these for a sub day as well!
Free Story Retell Game
Sign up below to receive a free Hop to It Story Retell game right to your inbox. A fun and interactive way to teach story retell with your students! Share how you’re using this freebie by tagging #missingtoothgrins on Instagram here!