Providing a scaffold for retelling
At the end of the year, many reading assessments ask students to retell what a story was about after they have read it. Some students struggle with this task. I often think it is not because they did not comprehend what the story was about, but more likely that they do not know how to organize their thoughts. Transitional words and phrases can help with this, such as: In the beginning; Next; Then; Finally; and At the end.
After a guided reading lesson, Jan Richardson suggests doing a “retelling scaffold” with the group. Have students take turns retelling part of the story they have just read. Download these transitional word cards to use with your group. Give each student one of the cards. Have each student use the word or words on the card to begin his or her part of the retelling. Students will need to listen carefully to each other so they know where to pick up and continue the retelling!
After they finish, discuss whether any important information in the story was forgotten.
Mich`ele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.
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