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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. Dramatic play games with your child such as dogs, house, or babies create many language rich play environments. Let her create the play rules, let her be the parent, and you pretend to be the child. These opportunities create great dialogues amongst adults and children.
  2. Language is everywhere. Use everyday tasks to learn language such as talk about the foods on the menu and their color, texture, and tastes. Looking at a menu and discussing what you see associates pictures, words and oral language as the written word. Mealtime is always a great place to have conversation.
  3. Grocery shopping is a great place to have conversations. Talk about what you will buy, how many things you need, and what you will make. Discuss the size (large or small), shape (long, round, square), and weight (heavy or light) of the packages.
  4. Reading books and singing nursery rhymes to young children builds valuable communication skills. Children will learn language structure, rhythm and listening and comprehension skills. Read often and encourage those awesome literacy skills through communication, talking and reading.

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