6 Ways To Encourage 4-8 Year Olds To Retell A Story (Speaking & Writing)

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Why Retell A Story?

Most children love to listen to stories being read to them. Many enjoy reading stories by themselves or to an adult or sibling.

Whether it is a short story or a chapter of a longer one, recapping on what has just been read helps children pay attention to what they are reading and encourages them to think about the characters, plot, vocabulary used etc. It is also a chance for them to point out words they may not know the meaning of, or to ask about something they may not have understood.

How can you encourage young children to retell a story?

It may be a story you have just read to them, or one that they already know. Most children will choose to give a one word answer or tell you in two sentences the whole story.

Use these ideas to help your child organise their thoughts and think about the story in more detail.

  1. Read the story to them and ask them questions at the end.
    Try and mix up the questions you ask. Some questions can have quick, short answers, e.g. What did the little girl do? What did she do next? What happened at the beginning, middle, end? Some questions can ask for your child's opinion e.g. Why do you think Cinderella was sad? Who do you think should go to the ball? Why?

  2. Ask your child to retell the story, whilst looking at the pictures.

  3. Ask your child to write, draw, or tell you 4 things they remember about the story.

  4. Let your child ask you questions about the story.

  5. Ask your child what they would do if they were a certain character.

  6. Use a story map to help your child retell the story.
    Children can retell the story in their own words or write a sentence next to pictures.

Fiction and Non-Fiction Text

Children should be encouraged to read a variety of text types. Fiction texts children can read include: poems, plays and comics. Non-fiction texts children can read include: newspaper articles, adverts, weather reports, recipes, instructions, manuals and encyclopaedias.

If a child doesn't like reading they could retell something they have watched on T.V. or done activity they have recently taken part in. The aim is to encourage children to recall and remember; to increase their vocabulary and improve their speech and confidence.

As children get older, they will be given more formal activities to complete at school that involves answering comprehension questions.

Take a look at Teach My Kids Maths and English Worksheets aimed at your child's year group at school.

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