Empowering English Language Development Through Engaging Story-Retelling Activities

English Language Development (ELD) is a crucial aspect of early education, and story-retelling activities provide a rich and effective avenue for fostering language skills among young learners. 
Usonmg Story Retelling for ELD
Whether you are working with students who are learning English as a second language or native English speakers, story retelling can be a very powerful tool. It is a dynamic strategy that promotes language development on various fronts:

Below are six important benefits to incorporating story-retelling into the classroom and creative activities that not only make learning enjoyable but also enhance language proficiency.

1. Vocabulary Expansion for All English Language Learners

Story retelling provides a dynamic platform for expanding vocabulary. Engaging in the recounting of stories exposes children to new words, helps reinforce existing vocabulary, and enhances their understanding of language structure. 

2. Developing Oral Language Proficiency:

Story-retelling encourages students to express themselves orally. This practice plays a pivotal role in developing strong communication skills, including proper pronunciation, fluency, and articulation.

3. Encouraging Active Listening:

Story retelling requires active listening, a crucial skill in language development. Through story-retelling, students practice listening attentively, identifying key details, and comprehending the narrative, thereby honing their listening abilities.

4. Fostering Sequencing and Comprehension:

Retelling stories involves sequentially organizing events and enhancing students' understanding of narrative structure. This skill not only aids in comprehension but also lays the foundation for more advanced literacy skills in the future.

5. Creating a Supportive Environment:

Establishing a classroom environment that encourages story-retelling involves incorporating interactive activities. Use props, visuals, and open-ended questions to spark discussions, making the process enjoyable and accessible for all students.

6. Individualized Learning Opportunities:

Story retelling can be adapted to cater to individual learning needs. Tailoring activities to accommodate varying language proficiency levels ensures that every student has the opportunity to participate and progress at their own pace.

How to Incorporate Story Retelling into the Classroom

Storytelling Props and Puppets:

Introduce props and puppets to make the story come alive. Encourage students to use these tools to retell the narrative, promoting engagement and creativity.

Sequencing Story Events:

Enhance comprehension by having students sequence story events. This activity not only reinforces the narrative structure but also aids in organizing thoughts and language expression.

Story Maps and Graphic Organizers:

Utilize story maps and graphic organizers to visually represent key elements of a story, such as characters, setting, problem, and solution. This approach supports English language learners in organizing their thoughts coherently.


Foster language proficiency by incorporating role-playing into story-retelling. Assign characters to students and encourage them to act out parts of the story, promoting vocabulary usage and language fluency.

Books for Retelling Activities

Here is a list of my favorite books to use for story-retelling activities. These books offer engaging narratives and colorful illustrations, making them ideal for story-retelling activities in kindergarten classrooms.

1. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
2. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle
3. "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" by Jan Brett
4. "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats
5. "The Three Little Pigs" by James Marshall
6. "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak
7. "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" by Paul Galdone
8. "The Gingerbread Man" by Karen Smidt
9. "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown
10. "The Mitten" by Jan Brett
11. "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina
12. "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff
13. "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson
14. "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes" by James Dean and Eric Litwin
15. "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper
16. "Big Red Barn" by Margaret Wise Brown
17. "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn
18. "Corduroy" by Don Freeman
19. "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey
20. "Go, Dog. Go!" by P.D. Eastman

You can find all of these books listed above on my Amazon Storefront under Story Retelling Books.

Story-retelling Activities on TpT

The mitten story retelling activity for ELD
The Snowy Day story retelling activity

Story-retelling activities serve as a dynamic catalyst for English Language Development in kindergarten classrooms. By integrating these engaging strategies, educators create an interactive and supportive learning environment that empowers students to become confident communicators. Embrace the magic of storytelling to unlock the full potential of language development in every young learner.

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