Picture Books to Teach Retelling in the Classroom
Retelling a story is the reader’s account of what happened in a book. These picture books help teach this important comprehension strategy.
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.
Many books in your classroom or school library will work for teaching retelling a story. Don’t forget wordless picture books. They encourage students to focus on storytelling and comprehension rather than ‘remembering’ the text when retelling a story.
Retelling a Story Strategies
There are a couple of retelling strategies many 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 problem and solution.
Story Retelling Prompts and 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?
- 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?
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Picture Books for Retelling a Story
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Flotsam by David Wiesner
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
Hike by Pete Oswald
I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Journey by Aaron Becker
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Little Red by Bethan Woollvin
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
Me and You by Anthony Browne
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Pool by JiHyeon Lee
Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
Ralf by Jean Jullien
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson
A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed A City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Wallpaper by Thao Lam
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barn
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Of course, many books can be used for retelling a story. This is just a collection of books that you may or have not heard of, and will hopefully apart some ideas of other books you can use in your classroom.
Here are a few videos you can use with your students that go through the process of how to retell a story.