Incredible Power of Picture Books to Teach Retelling in the Classroom
Looking for fun and effective picture books to teach story retelling in the classroom? These picture books are engaging, great for students of all ages and levels, help improve comprehension, and provide a helpful tool for retelling stories.
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Why Use Picture Books to Teach 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.
Picture books are a great way to help students learn how to retell stories. They offer colourful illustrations, engaging stories, and creative characters that help children focus and stay engaged.
Teaching retelling skills through picture books can help your students remember stories better and develop language, comprehension, and creativity with their vibrant illustrations, understandable language, and imaginative characters.
Retelling a Story Strategies
There are a couple of retelling strategies many teachers use:
1. Use the transitional words first, then, next, after that and finally/lastly. This vocabulary helps 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, problem, and solution.
Prompts and Questions to Use When Retelling a Story
- 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?
- What was the setting(s)?
- What happened next? Then what happened?
- What’s happened to [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?
Picture Books to Teach Retelling a Story
Many picture books in your classroom or school library will work for teaching retelling. Don't forget wordless picture books. They encourage students to focus on storytelling and comprehension rather than ‘remembering' the text when retelling a story.
After the Fall by Dan Santat
A fresh retelling of the classic Humpty Dumpty story told from the egg's perspective. Humpty Dumpty bravely faces his fear of heights, teaching us about courage, overcoming adversity, and the importance of self-esteem.
After the Fall promotes discussions around character traits, perspectives, and a growth mindset. It encourages students to understand and embrace their fears, foster adaptability, and celebrate resilience.
Chalk by Bill Thomson
Three friends find a bag of magical chalk at the park on a rainy day – whatever they draw becomes real. A sun clears clouds, butterflies fly, and dinosaurs leap from the 2D realm. When a child's drawn dinosaur chases them, they must creatively resolve the problem.
Chalk promotes creativity, problem-solving, and the power of imagination. It offers a lesson about responsibility and consequences, teaching children that every action can have effects they must deal with.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum adores her unique name but faces teasing at school due to its uniqueness. However, when her music teacher names her baby Chrysanthemum, it triggers a shift in perspective, leading her classmates to appreciate their unique identities and Chrysanthemum's.
Chrysanthemum encourages your students to embrace their identities and respect others' uniqueness. It reminds us that open-mindedness and empathy can shift perspectives.
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
When Farmer Brown's cows stumble upon a typewriter, they start typing letters demanding electric blankets. Things escalate quickly as the cows strike, and Duck is the mediator. But the peace doesn't last long when the ducks have their own demands!
Click, Clack, Moo story promotes dialogue about fair negotiations' importance, communication's power, and the essence of compromise.
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
A young boy and his grandfather cannot communicate through words due to language differences. They discover a shared love for art, transforming their interactions from frustrating silence to vibrant storytelling.
Drawn Together explores communication, open-mindedness, identity, and intergenerational relationships. It also emphasizes the power of making connections through non-verbal communication.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
When Jeremy Ross moves to town, a boy’s life changes for the worse. He is Jeremy’s enemy. Dad advises making an enemy pie, but it will only work if he spends the whole day with his enemy. They end up having so much fun the boy doesn’t need the pie. Use to discuss kindness, conflict resolution, bullying, and problem-solving.
Flotsam by David Wiesner
A boy stumbles upon an old camera on the beach. Developing its film reveals an underwater world beyond imagination, a visual narrative linking children across time and space.
Flotsam, a wordless book, inspires discussions on perception, perspectives, curiosity, and observation.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
A bear takes shelter in an empty apartment in Snooty Towers. He tastes some food, but it is too soggy or too crunchy. He sits on the cat and bursts a beanbag chair. When the family return, the bear recognises the mummy. It is Goldilocks all grown up! Compare and contrast with the original Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
As the seasons pass, a lighthouse keeper records every detail of his routine in his logbook. He records the family's daily activities as the days pass with fog, strong winds and icebergs drifting by. When he falls ill, his wife takes over his role to keep the warning light shining and care for her husband.
Read Hello Lighthouse