Story retelling is a common strategy employed by teachers to determine the level of the students' comprehension, including understanding the main theme or lesson and identifying the main and supporting characters. Story retelling can be oral or written. Students can also make drawings. Facilitate story retelling by providing prompts if children get stuck or need guidance in the retelling process.
Story Retelling as a Group Activity
Turn the story retelling into a group activity. Have the students or children sit in a circle or move their desks into a circle. After telling them a story or reading a story together, begin the story retelling as a game. One student begins the retelling with a few sentences, finishing with a lead-in such as "And then ...." The next student adds a sentence or two and finishes with a lead-in to the next student, and so forth. This turns the retelling into a group effort, reducing pressure on students who may have some performance anxiety about retelling the story in front of the class.
Retell with Pictures
Give students drawing supplies and ask them to draw a picture from the story. Divide the class into groups responsible for drawing pictures from the beginning, middle or end of the story. When the drawings are finished, the students can arrange their pictures in the correct order. Ask students to share their picture with the class, retelling a portion of the story that coincides with their drawing.
Story retelling can be difficult for children when the task is first asked of them. One way to encourage more accurate retelling and better retention of important details is to guide the retelling process. Determine the key details in advance, such as main characters, characters' goals and obstacles, setting and theme, and plot. Ask the children to consider these key elements, helping them as needed and explaining why each is a key element. Guided the story retelling with leading questions or hints if children get stuck. Over time, offer less help and encourage the children to help each other.
Practice Writing Summaries
Having students retell of a story assesses their ability to summarise information. Provide students with lessons in advance about recognising the main antagonist (good guy) and protagonist (bad guy), supporting characters, goals of the main characters, setting, themes or lessons from a story. Print a reminder list on a worksheet and tell students they may take notes during the initial story telling to use in their summaries.
Retelling a Story With a Twist
Change the retelling process to make the story different. Instruct your students to change the story they retell. For instance, they might retell the story from a different character's point of view.
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