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Story Retelling

I love reading to children of all ages, especially with the 0-5 crowd. Their interaction, involvement and interest changes so much from infancy to toddlerhood to preschool. What is even more fun is to go beyond the book and “retell” the story using manipulatives. It’s actually a requirement for my early childhood preservice teachers to create and perform a retell for their peers of a children’s book. That is one of my favorite class days! Many even go beyond just one and create numerous retells to share in their fieldwork classrooms with the children.

There are many ways to “retell” a story – drawing, displaying pictures, puppets, masks…I have even had students dress up as the main character and act out the story for their listeners. Start by searching for the book title online to see if manipulatives already exist that you can cut out and color or that you can download and put on a PowerPoint or Interactive Whiteboard Presentation. If they don’t exist, make your own or search for pictures online. I suggest Google Images. Before searching, go through the book and find the key characters/objects. Then search for them, print and cut/cut and paste into technology presentations.

Retells can be on felt boards, chalk/magnetic boards, or even Smartboards if you are lucky enough to have access to one. I suggest saving the technology retells for Kindergarten and up though – concrete and hands-on manipulatives are best for our infants, toddlers and preschoolers. (Check out Smart Technology’s webpage for information about interactive Smartboards).

One of my favorite retells to do is Jan Brett’s “The Mitten.” Download and print these manipulatives – they are great as masks or as felt board pieces. You can hand out the masks to children and have them act out the story as you retell it, or use them on a felt board or white board to provide a large visual retell.

Have you performed retells with infants, toddlers or preschoolers? What are your favorite stories to retell? What materials do you use?

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