Retelling a Story

Teach your child how to retell a story!

Retelling a story is a skill that requires attention to important details, imagination, and creativity. Whether your young learner is sharing a personal experience or retelling a classic tale, how they present the major events of the story can make all the difference in capturing their audience's attention and keeping them engaged.

To help your child become a master storyteller, we’ve gathered our best tips, activities, resources, and other freebies to help them practice retelling skills!

Teacher telling a story to their students.

Key events and characters

The first step in retelling a story, as shown in a retell strategy, is understanding the story elements - the beginning, middle, and end of the story, as well as the characters and their motivations. Your child should have a clear idea of the key events. This will help them retell the story accurately, especially when using an anchor chart (an anchor chart is a visual tool used to teach children reading comprehension skills. It’s usually a poster that shows the main points of a text). They should also pay attention to the tone and style of the original story, and try to replicate it as closely as possible to capture the essence of the story.

Once your child understands the story well, it's time to start retelling it. One technique that can be very effective is to use vivid imagery and descriptive language to bring the story to life. This can help the audience visualize the events and characters, creating a more immersive experience.

Retelling activities

First, then, finally

Challenge your child to retell a story in three short paragraphs, emphasizing the key details. They can complete this activity either in written or verbal form. Prepare a template with the words ‘First’, ‘Then’, and ‘Finally’ equally spaced out down the page. Get your child to fill each box with key details they remember about the story in an ordered sequence.

Character puppets

This fun activity allows you to be creative with your child. To begin with, you’ll need to create a puppet for each character in the story. This can be done simply with cards and wooden sticks. Once the characters have been created, ask your child to use them to retell the story in the role of each character.

Story images

Assist younger children in their story retelling with this engaging visual reminder activity. Pick clear, relevant images from the story that depict main characters and events. Then, encourage your child to use these visuals as prompts to either narrate the story using their own words, verbally or in writing. This method improves their reading comprehension and memory by offering helpful visual information for retelling the story, making it more enjoyable and effective.

Story dice

This activity is a great way to introduce a physical element to the act of retelling a story. Label up the sides of any dice you have with the following story characteristics: characters, setting, beginning, problem, solution, ending. Then ask your child to roll the dice and talk about the topic displayed.

Consider the audience

When retelling a story, it's also essential to consider the audience. Your child should tailor their retelling to their interests and needs and ensure they're presenting the story in a way they can relate to. This might involve simplifying the language or adjusting the tone to suit the audience.

Finally, it's important to remember that retelling a story is not about simply repeating the events. It's about children using their imagination and creativity to create something new and engaging. Your child should feel free to add their own interpretations while staying true to the spirit of the original story.

Retelling a story requires careful attention to detail, imagination, and creativity. By following these tips and techniques, your child can create a compelling narrative that captures the essence of the story and keeps your audience engaged.

Free resource

You can practice retelling and general reading comprehension skills with your child by downloading this fun activity pack based on the first book in the Night Zookeeper series.

Note: this is the same PDF available across all the Reading Comprehension section.


How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Night Zookeeper turns reading & writing into a game, making your child's learning experience fantastically fun!

Our award-winning program includes thousands of educational resources, including word games, reading comprehension lessons, creative writing prompts, and challenges to boost your child's spelling and grammar.

Sign up today and get a FREE 7-day trial!

Related content

Children holding a tablet

Make Reading & Writing Fantastically Fun!

  • Award-winning reading & writing program for kids
  • Improves spelling, grammar, punctuation & vocabulary
  • Over 1,000 different learning games and activities
Learn More
2011-2024. Wonky Star Ltd
Registered Company No. 07706300