By Esther Jantzen, guest poster
In the days before television and radio, families often sat together in the evening and retold stories from books they had read or from adventures they had. Retelling stories develops one’s memory and the ability to speak in groups. It can build feelings of self-confidence. This activity encourages kids to pay attention to details and to the order of events in a story. It provides them a chance to show off their dramatic skills. And it’s fun to do this! Here is one way to do it:
1) This activity works best when you pick a book that your child really enjoys. First, tell the child that he or she will have the opportunity to retell the story in his or her own personal style. Then read the book aloud together.
2) Let the child retell the story to you soon after reading it. If you want to then re-read the story to remind yourselves of the details, that’s fine.
3) At some event perhaps a family meal or a gathering of friends invite (but don’t force) the child to retell the story. OR let him or her act out the story. Allow the child’s inventive mind to add new details, even if they are different from the original book. Applaud their efforts!
4) You may wish to make Story Circle a family tradition and do it now and then. Adults can join in this, too. It can be done anywhere, for instance, on a long car ride or on a long walk.
5) Start a list of stories that your family members like to tell.
Story Circle: Read and Retell supports the English-Language Arts Content Standards related to reading comprehension, delivering oral communication, and narrative writing.
Esther Jantzen, Ed.D, is a mother, an educator and the author of Plus It! How to Easily Turn Everyday Activities into Learning Adventures for Kids available at www.plusitbook.com and the Way to Go! Family Learning Journal available through www.jantzenbooks.com