Use the Retelling Glove for Summarizing Stories

The Common Core standards for reading literature require that kindergarten students be able to identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. First grade students should be able to retell a story using key details from the story. As you’re working to address this standard, try the Retelling Glove. Your bodily, kinesthetic learners will love it!

Use the Retelling Glove to teach the necessary story elements by first introducing it in your whole-class mini-lesson. Turn the Retelling Glove graphic organizer into an anchor chart or project it onto a whiteboard. As students retell, record their answers by writing on the fingers or affixing a sticky note to the corresponding finger.

  • Who?–The thumb represents the characters in the story. Encourage students to include all the characters mentioned in the story, not just the main one.
  • What?–A small box on the index finger is a reminder to include details about “what” happened in the story. What was the problem?
  • When?–Time plays a part in the “when” of retelling, but it can also include day or night or seasons of the year.
  • Where?–A story can take place in more than one place. Have students reference the main setting for the story.
  • Why or how?–Why did the characters do/say certain things? Why did the author write this story?

Use the Retelling Glove during small-group instruction when students retell the story elements. Wear the glove or give each student in the group a glove. As students retell, be the scribe and record their answers on the graphic organizer. Eventually, turn the responsibility over to the students. Once you feel they are ready to do the writing on their own, have them each complete an organizer within the small-group meeting.

Once most students are able to do the retelling and/or recording, then add the activity and organizer to literacy stations for repeated practice. For example, place a glove and the graphic organizers near the Listening Station. After students listen to a text, they can slip on the glove and retell the important story elements. If developmentally appropriate, have students note the story elements on the graphic organizer. Students can turn in their work as a quick assessment for mastery.

Upper Elementary

Use the same technique with a more mature look. Add words to the glove (characters, setting, problem, events, solutions, and author’s message). This little reminder prompts students to include all the important elements when providing a summary or retelling.

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