Friday, August 3, 2012

Retelling Literacy Center

Check out this post over at


never ending story

I keep my promises. Something that I know is important: live a life of integrity and accountability. So as promised, I would share more about my literacy centers.

This center is the one I enjoy "spying" on while I'm reading with my guided reading groups the most. I strain from halfway across the room to hear the book language my kinders are using and to listen to the biggest billy goat gruff say, "Well come along! I've got two hard horns and four hard hooves. See what you can do!"
Fondly known to my kinders as the retell center, this center is all about developing a love of books by playing out the parts, recalling text, and every part of a story. Know those Common Core standards that are all about the parts of a story?
  • K.RL.1 - With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • K.RL.2 - With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
  • K.RL.3 - With prompting and support, identify characters, setting and major events in a story.
Well, this center is fondly known to me as the center where books come alive, I see my students recreating the book's setting, becoming the characters (oh, and they won't leave out a one!) and living out the major events and key details. With a few props and a lot of imagination, this center is always a favorite!

How do kinders know these books so well that they can retell them independently? I understand that to avoid frustration with kinders is that they must know what to do and be very familiar with it before they can and will do it independently. Its not boring to them, they love it when its familiar and they know how to do it on their own. (Its the same reason they can watch the same movie over and over and over.) We read the book until they are familiar with it and can almost repeat it word for word. The first time is always just for read aloud pleasure, then the work begins dissecting the book.

This center has a poster which dictates what their activity options are is simple (they get one option) but choice comes into play with what book they choose. I often see lots of cooperative learning and social skill building going on here too (bonus!) because they'd rather retell with more kinders than less to share the parts.

So what materials does it take?
Anything you can find! I've made lots of my "props," but many of them came from scanning pictures in a book, finding freebies in the FREE box at garage sales, and the Dollar Tree. Any left over beanie babies? Be sure to have a copy of the book that is just for this center. It will get lots of love and need replacing in a few years, but the price in value is golden.

scanned pictures
homemade & printables
dollar tree leaves
dollar tree princess toys, rat loofah
dollar tree bugs, dress up wings, puppet
printable, finger puppets
dollar tree grapes, play food,
homemade pb jar
homemade, rocks
printables, puppet
printables, homemade
printable, beanie babies, homemade poster
printables, beanie babies, troll doll
scanned pictures
scanned pictures, beanie baby
printable, gift finger puppets

Having shown you those, know that we will read the story aloud at least 4 times before ever releasing it into this center. We retell it as a class on the last reading. I change out the books as we learn more and then throw in some favorite older ones to keep it fresh for my kinders.

It make me laugh at the end of the year when I put in one or two of the first books we ever did and they're like, "I don't really remember the words to this one." All it takes is a mention of, "Have you tried reading the words to see if you can do it on your own?" and they beam because by this point they aren't just "remembering" the words like they were at the beginning of the year - they are reading! And we all know that kinders reading parts and pieces of a read aloud book is huge!

Keeping it all organized with kinders means a bucket they can put all of the pieces into and for me, a velcro label on the front to switch out the materials as needed.

A couple of blankets to create a floor mat, stage or cozy retelling space. With your finds and a little imagination you too can have a never ending story and enjoy "spying" on your kinders as they are learning in their own retelling imagination bubble.

Share your retelling props finds and printables available on the web here:
*Note (doesn't have to be your blog's post, just a url you found on the internet) So readers, join in!

(Submissions close in 150d 9h 45m or on 40 entries total)
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