Story Retelling. If your child is entering Kindergarten, get ready to hear all about story retelling this year. If your child has completed Kindergarten, or First Grade, then you have heard all about it. Learning to retell a story that you have just read, or a story that has just been read to you, is a developmental skill and must be practiced in order to be successful. This skill will not come easy to your child. Children love to listen to or a read a story just for the sheer joy of it. This is fine, however, children also need to learn how to comprehend what has been read and be able to tell another person about it. This is where story retelling comes in. When first asked to retell a story, many young children will tell you what happened at the very end of the story because that part is freshest in their memory. Children must be taught to retell a story in sequential order and to choose key facts in their retelling. Here are some of the key skills that your child will have to master in order to be successful in story retelling. You might pick one of two of these skills and practice them with your child so that he/she becomes comfortable with the terminology and what it means. When you see progress move on to another one of these retelling skills.
- How does the story begin?
- Where does the story begin?
- Who are the important characters…and child should be able to name them, not just say there was a girl, or a boy, etc.
- What were the important things that happened in the story?
- What was the problem in the story?
- How was the problem solved?
- How does the story end?
This is the time of the year that Kindergarten teachers begin talking about Story Retelling. The ability to retell a story helps children to focus on what has been read. Children will learn to organize their thoughts and gather information as the story is read to them. Kindergartners will learn about the setting, the characters, and putting the events of the story in sequential order. Young children need to begin learning about story retelling. After you read a story to your child, he/she should be encouraged to retell the events from the story in the order in which they occurred. Simple stories to start learning about story retelling are these stories that have predictable text:
The Gingerbread Boy
The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Bears
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
To reinforce this skill at home, begin with stories that your child knows and loves. When the story is over ask your child:
- about the setting (where did the story take place).
- who were the characters in the story (who were the people or animals in the story).
- Finally ask your child to put the events of the story in order by asking, What happened first? Then what happened? What happened at the end of the story?
Young children find this task tiring because they have to think and rethink. They realize that they must become an active participant in the reading of the story. Kindergartners love to be read to again and again but ask them to think about what they have heard and they are not too happy about that. It is time to start practicing these skills at home because I can assure you your child will be doing story retelling in first grade, second grade, third grade…well, you get the idea!