How To Teach Retelling A Story?

Storytelling is an age-old tradition that has been used to entertain, inform, and connect people for centuries. It is a powerful tool that can be used to teach valuable life lessons, spark the imagination, and foster a love of learning. However, the ability to retell a story is an essential skill that is often overlooked. 

Being able to retell a story effectively requires a deep understanding of the plot, characters, and themes. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to equip your students with this vital skill. In this article, we will explore essential tips and strategies for teaching retelling skills that will help your students become confident and skilled storytellers.

Why is knowing “retelling” important?

Knowing how to retell a story or event is important for several reasons:

1. Enhancing communication skills: The ability to retell a story or event requires good communication skills, including the ability to organize and present information in a clear and engaging manner. Being able to do so can improve one’s ability to effectively communicate with others in personal and professional settings.

2. Memory and comprehension: When retelling a story or event, one needs to recall and organize the key details and events in a coherent and accurate way. This process can help improve memory and comprehension skills, which can be useful in many areas of life.

3. Analytical and critical thinking: Retelling a story or event often requires analyzing and interpreting the information to convey its significance and meaning. This can help develop analytical and critical thinking skills, which are important in many academic and professional fields.

4. Storytelling: Storytelling is a fine example of retelling something, and is also an important aspect of human culture and has been used for thousands of years to pass on traditions, morals, and values. Being able to retell stories in an engaging and memorable way can help keep these traditions and values alive.

5. Teaching and Learning: Retelling can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool. When a teacher retells a story or event, it can help students better understand the material and engage with it on a deeper level. Similarly, when students retell a story or event, it can help reinforce their understanding and retention of the material.

Unleashing the power of storytelling: Effective strategies for teaching retelling skills

Retelling is an essential skill that helps readers comprehend and analyze narratives. Given below are some practical and effective strategies for teaching retelling:

1. Use Graphic Organizers:

Graphic organizers are visual tools that help learners organize information and identify key ideas in a story. They can be used to help students identify characters, settings, and sequences of events in a story. A common graphic organizer used for retelling is the story map, which helps students identify the key elements of a story. For the same, printable graphic organizers for reading and writing can also be used. 

2. Model Retelling:

Modeling retelling is an effective strategy for helping students understand how to retell a story. This involves the teacher or parent modeling how to retell a story using a think-aloud approach. Think-aloud involves the teacher or parent verbalizing their thought process as they read a story and retell it. Parents and educators can refer to some examples for the same.

3. Use Sentence Stems:

Sentence stems provide learners with a framework for retelling a story. They help learners organize their thoughts and provide a structure for their retelling. For example, “First, the story begins with…” or “Next, the main character…” are common sentence stems used in the retelling.

4. Guided Reading Activities:

Guided reading activities provide learners with the opportunity to practice retelling a story in a small group setting. These activities can include partner reading, choral reading, or echo reading. Guided reading activities can help students develop their comprehension skills and build confidence in their ability to retell a story.

5. Comprehension Strategies:

Comprehension strategies, such as visualizing, questioning, and summarizing, can also be used to support learners in retelling a story. These strategies help learners engage with the text and deepen their understanding of the story. While many wonders if summarizing and retelling are the same, however, in reality, there are a number of differences between the two. 

The five-finger retell: A good way to help kids with retelling a story?

The five-finger retelling is an effective strategy for helping kids with retelling a story. This strategy involves using the five fingers of the hand as a mnemonic device to help children remember the key elements of a story. Here’s how it works:

1. Thumb

The thumb represents the main character of the story. Children can identify the main character and describe their personality traits. They can also describe the character’s actions and motivations throughout the story.

For example, “The main character of the story is a brave and adventurous boy named Jack. He is always curious and loves to explore new places. In the story, he goes on a quest to find a magical treasure and faces many challenges along the way.”

2. Index finger

The setting of the tale is represented by the index finger. Children can explain where the narrative takes place and what the setting looks like. They can also recognize the historical period and other significant elements that add to the environment.

As an example, “The plot is set in a deep and mysterious forest. It is densely forested, with tangled vines and lofty trees, and the air is filled with the noises of birds and animals. The narrative takes place during the Middle Ages when knights and castles were prevalent.”

3. Middle finger

The middle finger signifies the story’s difficulty or struggle. Children can recognize the main character’s predicament and how they attempt to solve it. They can also depict any difficulties or problems that the character encounters while attempting to solve the situation.

For instance, “The main character’s concern is that he needs to discover the magical wealth in order to save his community from a dreadful curse. To get to the riches, he must fight strong creatures and overcome hard puzzles along the way.”

4. Ring finger

The story’s events are represented by the ring finger. This will involve youngsters summarizing what happens in the narrative and in what sequence. They can also pinpoint any important narrative moments or turning points in the novel. As an idea, “At the start of the narrative, Jack embarks on his adventure to discover the magical treasure.

Along the route, he meets several hurdles, including a perilous river and a frightening dragon. He eventually discovers the wealth and uses it to lift the curse on his tribe.”

5. Pinky finger

The pinky finger represents the resolution of the story. Children can identify how the problem is solved and how the story ends. They can also describe any lessons that the main character learns or any changes that occur as a result of the story’s events.

For example, “In the end, Jack is able to break the curse and save his village. He learns the importance of bravery and determination, and he becomes a hero in the eyes of his community. The story ends with Jack returning home, triumphant and proud of his accomplishments.”

Mastering the art of story retelling: Essential tips and tricks for effective teaching

Here are some tips and tricks for effective retelling:

1. Identify the key details: Before starting to retell a story or event, take a moment to identify the key details and events that need to be included. This will help you organize the information in a clear and concise way.

2. Practice active listening: When listening to a story or event, make sure to actively listen and pay attention to the details. This will help you better remember and retell the information.

3. Use descriptive language: To make the retelling more engaging, use descriptive language that paints a vivid picture of the events and characters. This will help the listener better visualize the story and engage with it on a deeper level.

4. Stick to the main points: While it’s important to include the key details, it’s also important to avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details or tangents. Stick to the main points to keep the retelling focused and engaging.

5. Use pacing and tone: Vary your pacing and tone to help convey the mood and emotions of the story or event. For example, you might slow down and lower your voice during a suspenseful or serious moment, and speed up and raise your voice during an exciting or joyful moment.

6. Practice, practice, practice: Like any skill, retelling takes practice. Try retelling stories or events to friends and family to get feedback and improve your skills. Furthermore, practice can also be done through some retelling games and activities

7. Use visuals or props: Depending on the story or event, using visuals or props can help make the retelling more engaging and memorable. For example, you might use pictures, maps, or objects to help illustrate key points or events.

Remember, the goal of retelling is to effectively communicate the story or event to your audience in a clear and engaging way. With practice and attention to key details, you can become a skilled reteller.


In conclusion, By using a variety of strategies such as the five-finger retelling, visual aids, and story mapping, educators and parents can make the retelling process engaging and fun for kids.

Some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind when teaching retelling include using clear and simple language, encouraging children to ask questions, and providing opportunities for them to practice retelling on their own. Breaking the story down into smaller chunks, asking open-ended questions, and using prompts can also be helpful.

By mastering the art of retelling a story, children can develop their critical thinking skills, improve their memory, and expand their vocabulary. Ultimately, this can lead to greater success in reading and writing, and a deeper appreciation for literature. With the right tools and guidance, anyone can become a skilled storyteller and unlock the joy and magic of reading.

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