30 Children’s Books to Teach Retelling a Story
Retelling a story is a student’s own account of what happened in a book. This important comprehension strategy promotes sequencing skills, print concepts, descriptive vocabulary and thinking skills. Explore 30 picture books to teach retelling a story in your classroom.
Retelling a Story
Retelling is a foundational reading skill. It involves identifying the important parts of the story in order, including characters, setting, problem and solution. Retelling develops sequencing skills, print concepts, descriptive vocabulary, thinking skills, and visualisation techniques.
There are a couple of retelling strategies most teachers use:
1. Using the transitional words first, then, next, after that and finally/lastly. These words help students focus on the order of events.
2. Story maps help students focus on the most important story elements, including determining the principal characters, setting and the key problem and solution events.
Students need a lot of practice when retelling a story. It is important to model retelling strategies with your read-aloud sessions before your students have a go independently.
Picture Books for Retelling a Story
Many books in your classroom or school library will work for teaching retelling a story. Here are some new and old suggestions that work particularly well. Don’t forget wordless picture books. They encourage students to focus on storytelling and comprehension rather than ‘remembering’ the text as well as retelling the story.
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Little Red by Bethan Woollvin
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
Ralf by Jean Jullien
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed A City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barn
Retelling a Story Questions
- Retell the story in your own words.
- Retell the most important events in the story from the beginning, middle and end.
- Retell the most important events in order.
- Who was the story about?
- How did the story begin?
- What happened at the beginning?
- When did the story happen?
- Where did the story happen?
- What happened next? Then what happened?
- What’s happened to this character so far?
- What did [character] do next?
- What did [character] do after [event/action]?
- What was the [character’s] problem?
- How did [character] solve the problem?
- How did the story end?
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