Monday, October 24, 2011

Teaching "Retelling"

My students always have trouble retelling a story in summary form using beginning, middle and end. It's hard for young readers to decide what is important and not important. Some get confused and think they need to retell every word and for others writing anything at all is just to overwhelming. Let's be honest... it's hard to teach - at least for me - even after 19 years. Rather than just say ok... write the beginning, middle and end of the story, this year I created this foldable to help ease the process for the kids. We use and practice answering the "question words" (who, what, when, where, why, how) EVERY day in journal time (will detail in a different post) so I decided to use these question words as a guide for the kids to follow when writing a summary. The foldable is made using a 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of manila paper. I pre-folded about a 1/4 of the paper and then cut that flap into 3 equal sections. The kids label the first section with Who? When and/or Where? What? The students construct a sentence about how the story starts using the characters, setting, and what the problem is or what is initially going on. On the second flap, the students label up to 3 What? What? What? and choose up to 3 important events to write about the middle of the story. On the third flap, the students label How? and write about how the problem was solved or how the story ended. It's important to note that the question words can change depending on the story, but the basic framework still remains the same. Not all stories have a "problem" and a "solution." Some, like Hey Diddle Diddle (above) have something going on and a surprise ending. A Why? could also be added in any section depending on the story. The students can then illustrate a picture to go with the beginning, middle and end sentences as seen above.
We will of course be practicing this over and over until the students are able to do it alone, but even the first couple of times it seemed to help even the most struggling readers retell the story. This foldable could also be used in a reading work station after the kids have had lots of practice.

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