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Retelling – Sequencing

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Teach children about story structure using activities taken from Scholastic’s Literacy Skills books

Comprehension years 1-2

Objective: To organise story information and to retell it in sequence.

Background knowledge

Children need to know that story narratives that include characters, actions and events will probably have a problem and a resolution. The story will also have a beginning, middle and an end that is built around a sequence of events. It is important that the children are aware that others may not have heard the story before, so in order for them to follow what happens, they will need to hear the main points of the story in the order that they happen, starting from the beginning.

For young children to retell the main points of a story meaningfully, they need to understand that the beginning introduces the characters (what they are doing and where they are); the middle describes what the problem is; and the end explains the solution to the problem.

To help children order their thoughts before retelling a fairly complex story, the following sequencing guide might be useful:

  • Beginning: The story is about… (Who? What? Where?)
  • Middle: The problem is that…
  • End: What happens in the end is that…

These activities help children to practise retelling the beginning, middle and end of a story in the right sequence of events.

Skills: Incy Wincy Spider

  • As a class, say the rhyme ‘Incy Wincy Spider’.
  • Hand out the activity sheet (see below) and ask the children to look at the pictures. Can they use them to retell the rhyme as a story to their partners?
  • Discuss the difficulties their partners found understanding the retelling. Did it have a recognisable beginning, middle or end? Agree as a class that the images are in the wrong order. Ask the children to cut out the pictures and stick them in the correct order with the ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ labels.
  • Ask them to retell the story to their partners using their pictures as a guide. Remind them of the sequencing guide above (and on the sheet) that will help them keep their story in order.

Retell the rhyme, Hey diddle, diddle.

Exclusive reader offer!

The activities here have been taken from Literacy Skills: Comprehension Years 1-2 (Scholastic, ISBN 9781407100500). We are offering ChildEd PLUS readers a 15 per cent discount on the book if bought at the Scholastic Shop ( Please enter code VW71 at the checkout. Offer expires 31/07/09. And visit our online giveaways for a chance to win the book…

Comprehension: Tadpole to frog

  • Look at the first activity sheet together. Discuss what the illustrations show. Ask children who have seen frogspawn or frogs to describe their experiences. Look at the sequence in which the stages occur and encourage the children to use the terms ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’.
  • Provide the children with both activity sheets. Ask them to use the text to answer the questions and complete the sentences. Remind them to think about the progression of ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’.