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Retellings

Adapted from Checking for Understanding and Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Retelling, Emily Kissner

This strategy, the oral equivalent of paraphrasing, is best used during reading if an extended text has been chunked into smaller sections (common in textbooks) or as a post-reading routine. Repeated practice with retellings (students usually need four practice sessions) has been shown to have a significant positive impact on reading comprehension (Fisher, Frey 27). Retellings work with both informational and narrative texts. With informational and rhetorical texts, students retell the information and propositions; with narrative texts, students retell the elements of the story. In order to effectively retell a text, students will need to grasp not only the main ideas, events, and characters but their development over the course of the text.

  1. Explain that the purpose of a retelling is to re-create the text in your own words.
  2. Ask students to discuss the ways in which they talk about their favorite movie. Make the connection between talking about the movie and talking about a piece of text.
  3. Model a retelling from a short piece of familiar text for students. If students know the piece of text well, they can compare the original with the retelling.
  4. After the modeled retelling, ask students to discuss the similarities and differences between the original and the retelling.
  5. Select a new piece of text, read it aloud, and create a retelling as a group. Again, ask students to discuss the similarities and differences between the original and the retelling (27).

   

A Retelling Rubric for Fiction and for Informational Text are available here.

Standards: RL2, RL3, RL5, RIT1, RIT2, RIT3, RIT5, RIT8, SL6, L1, L6

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