Friday, June 24, 2011

Guess The Story

Summer vacation has finally started and I am looking forward to reading Jan Richardson’s book, The Next Step In Guided Reading, from cover to cover.    

I am passionate about guided reading instruction and I’ve had this book for months now, but I’ve only had time to skim it.  It is on my summer reading list and…I didn’t get very far when I had to stop reading and design a new literacy station!  Many of you may already have this station in your classroom, but if not, I wanted to share with you one of Jan’s suggestions for an oral retelling station. 

To organize an oral retelling station, simply place your read aloud books in the center for students to retell.   To make this activity fun, Jan suggests to copy and to laminate the book covers and put them in the workstation. Then you will teach the children to play “Guess the Story”.

To play “Guess The Story”, one child will choose a familiar book cover from the box and retell the story with a beginning, middle, and end.  The other children in the group will guess the title of story.  Children take turns retelling different stories.  Model how to play “Guess the Story”.    (That’s the key!  Model this station beginning on the second day of school ~ use your read-aloud(s) from the first day of school.)  Do this each day for two or three minutes, allowing students to model how to use this station and after a week you can add it to the task board.  Here’s the best part, by the third week of school, you will have a station full of ten or more familiar books ready for oral retelling!

I decided to make the featured book cards small enough so that when one child chooses a book cover the other children in the group will not see it!  If you’re interested in a few of my featured September books, you can grab the cards here!

Simple, Easy, and Teacher Friendly!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ok, I'm not sure what I did...I wasn't trying to delete that comment...sorry! Anywhoo, what I was saying is that retelling is such a critical skill. I'm excited to try out a new way to make practicing this skill more fun, and making my kids more accountable for their learning. Thanks so much for the suggestion and the downloads!
    Frogs in First

  3. Thank you for sharing your September cards. I am reading the same book. I teach first grade and feel I need to take it up a notch with my guided reading time. Liz in South Dakota

  4. What a GREAT idea! Thanks for sharing your cute cards! :)

  5. What a great way of getting the children to retell. I can't wait to try it next year. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  6. I read that book last summer and it is GREAT! I don't use stations but I am sure I can work this into Daily 5. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi All, Thanks so much for leaving the comments. I really enjoy reading your thoughts! I wanted to share this idea as I felt it would be a great partner/small group activity. I agree good teaching is just that good teaching! (And since retelling is a part of our assessment practices, I am always looking for additional ways for the kiddos to practice this skill.) I read the Daily Five years ago too and have implemented many of its ideas into my literacy block (another GREAT book!). I really enjoy revisiting these resources as I begin to plan for the new school year. ~Michelle

  8. I have this book also and have big plans for it this summer (as well as a million others:)). This activity is a great one and I love your idea of starting it on day 2- what a super way for them to practice B,M,& E without even knowing it!!

  9. I love this idea of the smaller retelling cards. Thanks for sharing and posting your downloads. Where did you get the font for the cards....I need to make some for our Spanish books as we are a Dual Language classroom and would like to keep the consistency of the pattern around yours. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.


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