retell literacy center {20 famous story retelling ideas and printables}

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My literacy centers are a core part of our kindergarten schedule. They are active literacy centers that keep us on our toes and working so that I can work with small groups {ahem} teaching. Let me roll out my kindergarten retell literacy center directions and expectations for you and the 20 stories that make up this year-long center. I believe that literacy centers can accomplish Common Core Standards, while matching up with a 90 minute reading block goal and be less work for the teacher once in place.

Most of the stories that I place into the retell literacy center are famous, but there may be one or two new ones for you. This is great news since you probably already have the tools needed to quickly implement a story or two with the stuff you already have. Enjoy going through this list and keep the items in mind for your favorites as you go about cleaning out your classroom cupboards or hit up garage sales and thrift stores.

Kindergarten Retell Literacy Center Activities

KindergartenWorks: 20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

This literacy 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!” Students retell the story by using their own recall or by attempting to read well-loved books.

Kindergarten Retell Literacy Center Standards

This literacy 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!

 

Kindergarten Retell Literacy Center Prep

How do my 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. It’s not boring to them, they love it when its familiar and they know how to do it on their own. (It’s 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.

{Ser.ious.ly.}

The first time is always just for read aloud pleasure, then the work begins dissecting the book.

KindergartenWorks: 20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

This center has a poster which dictates what their activity options are is simple {they get one option – ha!} 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.

Kindergarten Retell Literacy Center in Action

Having laid that out, know that we will read the story aloud at least four 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!

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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.

Kindergarten Retell Literacy Center Props

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. Click any image to read more about the book, free printables or what materials work great.

More Literacy Centers

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What are your favorite stories to retell?
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About Leslie atKindergartenWorks

Leslie is the author of KindergartenWorks. She teaches kindergarten students how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys graphic design, learning new things and sharing with teachers. Google+

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03985522454568693146 Karen

    I LOVE that you shared this!! I am in a school where the principal moved from middle school to elementary. He doesn’t get kinders at all and I had to fight to get retelling and dramatic play back in my classroom. I love all your ideas of props… one that I wanted to add was letting the children create their own props. I have an end of the day free choice time where one of the choices is “creation station”. The kids have several choices of things to make and one is “something that is missing from retelling”. In years past I’ve had kids create “froggy” feet or Author’s glasses. It’s fun to see what they feel is missing or needed in the center!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11750681486295715976 laughinbrunette (Jennifer)

    Love your ideas! I have a station for re-tell…but had never thought about doing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with magnet letters…duh!? Where have I been? lol
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02750346912478635123 Kindergarten Whale Tales

    I have always loved this center in your classroom. I’m going to have to print some of these to do a retell center this year. I am not nearly as good at finding these props. I love this blog post, too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15207226413750570975 Mrs. Johnson

    Oh my GOODNESS, thank you for sharing this! We always use the book to retell the story, and limited props, but I ADORE your creativity in making homemade props for all of these treasured books! I will be adding this center! AND I’m featuring your post on my blog! Thanks so so MUCH!

    http://www.wildaboutkindergarten.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10837349056545423127 Kelly S.

    Thanks for participating in Ms. Kindergarten’s birthday giveaway! I love your blog!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14100654459834919470 Tara

    Love your blog! New follower:) Found you with Ms. Kindergarten’s bday giveaway:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09056252732467822848 Laura Starnes

    Holy Cow! How awesome are you! I just bookmarked this page. I usually have my kids retell the story through a play. We act it out and I video it, then edit and turn it into a movie. They love it…but that’s a lot of work. I might use this next year instead of buddy reading.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09349153656524589849 Mrs. Lochridge

    Great post with a multitude of resources. You continue to inspire.

    First Grade Factory

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17531829108247730123 S. Parker

    This is such a great way to develop language along with retell. Thanks for sharing with us. I can’t wait to see all the links. I purchased many things from Lakeshore but also made a few pieces of my own. I love to just scan pictures from the book, laminate and add felt on the back.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00613719976895925140 Ali

    I think your blog is GREAT!! Thanks for participating in the birthday giveaway!!

    Ali

    What happens in kindergarten… lasts a lifetime

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02796775550398627073 Emily

    I love, love, love that you shared these retelling props! I think it’s such a great idea for kinders and even first graders!
    Playground Duty

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08688846158885733787 Ashley

    I am new to blogging and can not believe all the goodness I’ve been missing. I don’t know how I’m going to catch up or take in all these great ideas. I found you through the birthday giveaway. I definitely am looking forward to checking out all your great ideas!! Thanks
    Ashley

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10133216826058576166 Alessia Albanese

    Thanks for participating in Miss Hadar’s birthday giveaway! Your blog is wonderful!

    Alessia
    Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten Class

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11203723557898847919 Mrs. Steinhauer

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11203723557898847919 Mrs. Steinhauer

    Thanks for the great literacy ideas!! Your blog is wonderful! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06146804654434216619 Melissa

    Love the literacy ideas! I think I will borrow some. Great job!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14275671586735644296 Katie Mense

    OMG!!! This is AWESOME!!! It’s GREAT to have all of the resources right here in one spot!!! You rock!=) Thanks so much for doing this!
    Little Warriors

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15127273859427000670 Cindy

    Wonderful! Love these ideas! Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06825155701910745927 Thomas Family

    Love Love Love this. Our retell center is so boaring compared to this. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14460488991266752476 Hamilton’s Blog

    I LOVE this post…i need to “re-think” and “re-do” this center for my kinders next year. One thing…for some reason i can not open the links on the “Stay and Play Mama” blogspot…am I doing something wrong?
    As always, your things are awesome! One other quick question…have you changed all of your wonderful things to match “Common Core” standards. I have purchased a lot of your things before the common core was put in place…no big deal either way…just a question!
    Thanks again for everything you do!
    Jennie in Southern Indiana

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17829267484574020392 Megan

    Fantastic post. You have inspired me to create this center for next year.
    I, too, and having trouble getting to the Stay and Play mama website. I’ve been there many times in the past, but today it says I need to be invited. Any ideas, anyone?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04568377943100374198 Leslie @KindergartenWorks

    What excitement you all have to share in your voices! Thanks for sharing your feedback! Jennie, most items that are literacy center materials have been updated to have the common core standards (like on the posters). Thanks for asking!

    I tried to touch base with stayandplay mama – hopefully her amazing items will be back up soon!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04568377943100374198 Leslie @KindergartenWorks

    What excitement you all have to share in your voices! Thanks for sharing your feedback! Jennie, most items that are literacy center materials have been updated to have the common core standards (like on the posters). Thanks for asking!

    I tried to touch base with stayandplay mama – hopefully her amazing items will be back up soon!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04568377943100374198 Leslie @KindergartenWorks

    Thanks for the great literacy ideas!! Your blog is wonderful! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04568377943100374198 Leslie @KindergartenWorks

    I have always loved this center in your classroom. I’m going to have to print some of these to do a retell center this year. I am not nearly as good at finding these props. I love this blog post, too!

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  • Mor Zrihen

    I LOVE this post Leslie!!! I was looking up literacy activities for little ones and your post popped up to my surprise :) Will be using this post for our future Baby Book Club meetups <3 xoxo Mor

    • http://www.kindergartenworks.com Leslie @KindergartenWorks

      Thanks Mor! Glad to hear about your new permanent position ;) Awesome stuff!
      -Leslie

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  • Jessika

    Hey there! I love your “There was an old lady…” story props. Would you by any chance have the Simms Taback version available to download? Thanks! :)

    • http://www.kindergartenworks.com Leslie @KindergartenWorks

      Hi Jessika,
      Thanks for asking – I have digitized only 3 of the animals so far. I’ll keep working on them! Check back as I’ll make them available when they’re complete.
      – Leslie

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