Retelling Activities for Kindergarten

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Retelling stories is an important skill for young children. Help them build their emerging literacy skills using activities that make retelling fun and engaging with this simple lesson.

Retelling for Emergent Readers

Students in kindergarten have a wide range of reading abilities. Some are still learning the mechanics of the process, like letter identification and sound/symbol relationships, while others may be able to read short stories. No matter which level students are on, all need to learn the skill of retelling.

Why is this important? Basic comprehension relies on a student's ability to recall stories in a chronological order - first, next, then, last. Being able to read isn't required to accomplish this: Early and emergent readers can practice this skill on familiar text, like fairy tales or favorite stories. Non-readers should use picture cards and other illustrations to make sense of retelling.

Activities that zoom in on retelling can be practiced as a whole or small group, then placed in independent work centers for use during guided reading or other student-led activities. Take a look.

Retelling Necklaces/Ropes

This activity is highly adaptable for students on all levels. To use, you'll need a piece of yarn or rope, story or task cards (more on these below), and a story on tape or a familiar story.

The task cards can be leveled according to need. Students who need more practice can use task cards simply labeled ''Beginning,'' ''Middle,'' and ''End,'' or B, M, and E. When ready, transition into three picture cards that show beginning, middle, and end, such as the three little pigs building houses, the wolf blowing them down, then the wolf landing in the fire. For students who are ready, you can add a series of task cards with more details. Laminate and punch holes in the top of the cards.

To play, students listen to the story on tape or recall the story. They then slide the card onto the rope or necklace in the correct order. Tactile learners like this activity as it allows them to get their hands busy and create a craft.

Story Strips

For this activity you'll need a set of story task cards and a paint stirring stick, found at your local hardware store. You'll also need glue, or make this activity re-playable by attaching Velcro strips to the stick and task cards.

To play, students listen to, or recall, the story on the tack cards and attach them to the stick in order. Practice as a group a few times, then allow students to play in partners. One student can retell the story while the other attaches the task cards; students can take turns to increase engagement. Hang up around the room to decorate or play as a wall game.

Retelling Walk

This activity is a great way to get your students up and moving while incorporating essential retelling skills. Find a place in your room that you can tape several pieces of paper to the floor. If you have carpet, or aren't allowed to attach things to your floor, create on a long strip of paper and laminate.

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