Story Retell Goal Ideas
- NAME will retell the story from a picture book and include a clear beginning, middle, and end in 2 out of 3 opportunities given a familiar visual and moderate verbal cues.
- NAME will retell a short story and include a clear problem and solution in 3 out of 5 opportunities given minimal therapist support.
- Given a model story, NAME will retell the story and include a character, setting, problem, feeling, action, and solution in 75% of opportunities across 2 sessions.
- NAME will retell a story and include 4 or more story elements in her retell in 3 out of 5 opportunities given a familiar visual.
- Given a story structure visual and a graphic organizer, NAME will retell short narratives including 5 or more different story grammar parts in 4 out of 5 observed opportunities.
Read more about my goals here.
Teaching Story Retell
Before working on story retell skills, your learners should have foundational skills in Sequencing, WH Questions, and Story Elements. Once they do, working on story retell is a great way to practice all of those skills in one activity! If your learner struggles putting it all together, consider targeting foundational language skills like Complex Sentence Deconstruction or even Sentence Combining.
Story retell is also best targeted before you ask your students to do more difficult tasks like Story Generation (unless engagement is a concern – generation tasks can be preferred by students, even though they’re more difficult!).
Because it’s generally considered easier and more engaging, I’d also recommend retelling personal stories and experiences first (before retelling picture books or texts). Have your students talk about what they did over the weekend, something funny that happened at lunch, or about their favorite trip. Use visuals (or graphic organizers) that show story elements or the “story path” (story structure/plot) using story elements to support their retells.
Then, move onto retelling motivating picture books including wordless picture books using a visual like the one below.
I’ve found direct teaching about story structure to be a key part of effective story retell interventions. Here’s an example of the story path for Searching for Home (an original wordless story I created):
If this seems too complex for some of your students, or for students who struggle with word-finding or verbal expression and benefit from visual supports, you can provide low-tech communication boards and visuals to assist in story retell tasks. Here’s an example of one from my Searching for Home unit:
I love having my students rate their own retells! It increases their meta-awareness about what story elements they’ve included and how complete their retell was.
It’s especially helpful for my students who produce very short story retells.
Last, I love using rubrics to assess growth in my student’s story retell skills.
Retell skills are a functional way to measure progress of narrative skills in general, or the use of specific skills including transition words, mental state verbs (e.g., think, feel, know), conjunctions, adverbs, story elements, and more.
Like I shared when discussing Story Elements, Pixar shorts make another perfect medium for working on narrative skills including story retell. Watch a short video clip, discuss it, and then have your students retell what happened from the beginning to the end. Rate your retells and voila, you have an entire story retell focused session planned!
Story Retell Skills in Context
Many of the activities shared above already target story retell within contextualized therapy activities. Story retell can easily be targeted using picture books, short videos (like Pixar shorts), texts, and narrative units.
See how your students do retelling these engaging short films. They make a really fun and engaging way to target story retell:
- Cenote – https://vimeo.com/717578725
- Piper – https://youtu.be/WIPV1iwzrzg
- For The Birds – https://youtu.be/nYTrIcn4rjg
- Partly Cloud (shown above) – https://youtu.be/PfyJQEIsMt0
I also love retelling picture books or stories from my story units (like the Searching for Home examples shown above).
For an easy button way to target a variety of language skills (including story retell!) using one narrative-based unit made just for speech therapy sessions, check out my story units linked below:Shop Story Units