Retelling is an important literacy skill. For English Language Learners retelling a story gives them the opportunity to practice their oral language skills. Here are some ideas for incorporating retelling into your classroom.
Create a retelling drama center. This works especially well for younger students. It can be as simple as printing out character pictures and gluing them onto popsicle sticks or a full-blown play center with props. Have one book that you have recently read or create boxes with a book and the props that go with that book.
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Have students work with a partner to retell a story. One partner can retell the story while the other partner listens and then adds in details that were missing. Or the two partners can split up the story and retell it together. For older students/those with higher language levels they can create their own reader’s theater scripts to retell the story.
Story Picture Cards
Visuals are helpful for language learners. Some students might struggle to retell all of the key details from a story but if they have pictures include many more details. Consider giving a nonreader the picture book and letting them use the pictures as they retell the story.
I have created sets of Speak then Write Retelling Packs with images from popular stories. Students can use the pictures to retell the story and then write down a summary of the story using the pictures.
Create opportunities for students to retell stories that they have read or heard. When they practice retelling in an engaging way they will gain practice in listening and speaking. Young children can be given the opportunity to play while they are practicing academic skills.
Retelling as Part of Reading Comprehension
Retelling combines many aspects of reading comprehension. To retell a story students summarize and infer. Learn more about the skill along with some great sentence frames on Reading Rockets.