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What reading experts say:
Good readers are actively involved in what they read and think about a story as it is read to them. Researchers have found that good readers and learners can pick out the most important parts of a story and restate the information. The ability to recall and retell a story helps clarify its meaning and leads to better comprehension. Story retelling helps kids see the different parts of a story - the beginning, the middle and the end - and how all these parts fit together.

Retelling doesn't mean memorizing - it means recounting the story in the child's own words. Parents who engage children in conversations while reading a book encourage reading comprehension skills. What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, International Reading Association. Retelling Stories Boosts Kids' Understanding, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2003).

What good readers know:
Good readers can retell a story from beginning to end, adding important ideas and details.

Good readers can answer these 5 questions:
  • Who was the story about?
  • Where did the story take place?
  • What happened at the beginning?
  • What happened in the middle?
  • What happened at the end?
This is called the 5 Finger Retelling Strategy - one finger for each important question. Good readers also act out stories they have read and enjoy creating new twists and endings to familiar stories.

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Record each day's weather on the calendar with symbols for sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, etc. at the end of the month, count each kind of day.
Week 2:
Read five books from the "Talking" book list.
Week 3:
Watch a science or nature program and talk with your child about unfamiliar words or concepts.
Week 4:
Go to the Library and check out an information book related to the science or nature program you watched. Talk about questions you have and read the book together to find answers.

Activities - Talking:
  1. Plan a trip to the store. Write your list and then, discuss the items you need to get and the isles they are down. If you’re going to the grocery store, discuss what foods you will make with each item and where it is located in the store. “We’re getting milk near the dairy aisle, “or “We need to find chicken because I’m going to make tacos for dinner tomorrow.” Pick out new foods you’ve never tried before, this encourages young children to try new things, but also increases vocabulary and building relationships.
  2. Talk about what happened throughout your day. Ask lots of open ended questions, “What was your favorite part?”
  3. Turn everyday activities into pretend play opportunities. Play helps young children develop fundamental skills by promoting language and vocabulary development. As children pretend, they build imagination, creativity and learn about characters and settings.

More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)