What reading experts say:
Good readers are actively involved in what they read and think about a story as it is read to them. Researchers have found that good readers and learners can pick out the most important parts of a story and restate the information. The ability to recall and retell a story helps clarify its meaning and leads to better comprehension. Story retelling helps kids see the different parts of a story - the beginning, the middle and the end - and how all these parts fit together.
Retelling doesn't mean memorizing - it means recounting the story in the child's own words. Parents who engage children in conversations while reading a book encourage reading comprehension skills. What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, International Reading Association. Retelling Stories Boosts Kids' Understanding
, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2003).
What good readers know:
Good readers can retell a story from beginning to end, adding important ideas and details.
Good readers can answer these 5 questions:
- Who was the story about?
- Where did the story take place?
- What happened at the beginning?
- What happened in the middle?
- What happened at the end?
This is called the 5 Finger Retelling Strategy - one finger for each important question. Good readers also act out stories they have read and enjoy creating new twists and endings to familiar stories.
What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Record each day's weather on the calendar with symbols for sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, etc. at the end of the month, count each kind of day.
Read five books from the "Talking" book list.
Watch a science or nature program and talk with your child about unfamiliar words or concepts.
Go to the Library and check out an information book related to the science or nature program you watched. Talk about questions you have and read the book together to find answers.
More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)
- Use silly language, voices or rhymes whenever you can. Use phrases like ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ or make up nonsense rhymes about things you’re doing (cooking, booking, snooking, hooking).
- Sing nursery rhymes with your child. Nursery rhymes teach your child language, rhyme, repetition and rhythm. You could try “Baa, Baa Black Sheep or Alphabet Song”. Sing the songs in different ways like opera, rap, fast or slow.
- At mealtimes, talk about the food you’re preparing. Have your preschooler help and talk about what you’re doing to it, how it tastes and what it looks like. “This fruit is so colorful and all different shapes, what shape is this strawberry?”
- Talk about objects outside the house – for example, the rustling of leaves, or the sounds of the birds or traffic. Ask your child if she can make the sounds for wind, rain, water, airplanes, trains and cars.
- Play games like ‘I spy’ using colors, shapes or objects. This can be lots of fun, especially for preschoolers. Take turns with your child and ask many questions “I spy with my little eye, something that’s green.” Or “I spy something square.”