During a school week, I will read the same big book every day to build reading skills like letter or word identification; constructing meaning; putting ideas in order, and in this case, for the children to practice retelling a story. In this lesson, I am using the story, Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward. Prior to teaching this lesson, I took snapshots of my Beanie Baby cat in similar locations as Cookie was in in the story: by the toilet, in a drawer, upsetting a trash can, in a plant, in a closet, climbing the curtains and sitting on a chair.
Children, come join me over at our rug. I have a little friend that I would like to introduce to you. It is my Beanie Baby cat which I have named Crackers. Crackers is the cousin to Cookie and he, too, is full of mischief.
What, Crackers. You want to tell me something? Crackers wants to share his pictures with you. Do you recognize anything in the pictures? I think this will be an interesting time with Crackers the Cat. Crackers whispers something to me and I tell the children that he wants to share his photos of his visit to our school. The children are excited to see places that they recognize from our room and elsewhere in the building.
Story retelling is the process by which a child listens to or reads a story and then summarize, or "retells," the story in his or her own words. Retelling ties into these learning experiences and is an effective way to improve children's reading comprehension. Using this technique leads to large improvements in story comprehension, making inferences, and understanding of story structure. Story retelling requires children to focus on the bigger picture of the story and me to see how well a child understands the story as a whole. By having children tell the story in their own words, educators can identify children's strengths, and specific areas of difficulty that arise for individual students. As children become more comfortable with retelling stories, their language and listening skills will improve.
Yesterday, I introduced you to a cat named Cookie and we read his story, Cookie's Week. Today, we reread the story and use the pictures that Crackers brought to school and match his activities to the story of Cookie. I will hand the seven pictures to some of the students. (Usually to someone who I really want to pay attention. Also if there is enough time, I will let another group of children go through the same process). As I read each page, and as you make the connections, we will place the photos for retelling on the ledge of my easel. Do you notice any differences between the storybook and the photos? Are the photos in the same order as the story?
Is there anyone who could retell me the story only with the pictures and without using the book. I allow two or three children the opportunity to retell their version of the story.
Although I only see a couple of children Retelling a story in its entirety, I ask the children to draw their favorite part about Cookie based on the story. We will put together a class book about Cookie's Week. The children are given a piece of paper on which to draw and then, as I come around, they dictate to me and I scribe "Cookie is _______". I collect the pages as I do this. The children have to "help" me to remember at what part of the story their picture fits. As we put the class book together, I can see which students understand the sequence of events.
Boys and girls, you are going to be writing about Cookie. On this paper, I have put the words, Cookie is. Your job is to trace the words, and then draw a picture that will show me your favorite thing about Cookie. Once you are finished drawing, raise your hand and I will come around the room to write the rest of the words for me. Cookie is Silly After I have collected all the pages, I will make a class book out of all your work.
The children are still developing in their drawings skills, so I walked the children through the steps of drawing "Cookie". This made for a good lesson on listening and following directions. This activity was an extension lesson that occurred later in the week.
Step 1: Write your name on the back of the paper.
2: With your black crayon draw a large circle for Cookie's head.
3. Draw two triangles for ears at the top of Cookie's head.
4. Draw an upside down triangle in the center of the big circle.
5. Starting at the bottom point of the triangle, draw the letter J and then draw a small u next to it.
6 Draw two medium sized circles for eyes and then draw two small green circle inside the medium circles.
7. Draw three straight lines out from each side of Cookie's nose.
8. Color Cookie's forehead black and you are done.