Story recall: context for skill integration
and assessment
by Celeste M. Scholz
Jakarta International School

Language Analysis


Speakers recall and retell stories when they

relate personal experiences (and even jokes!),
report historical facts (Social Studies),
summarize plots from books or movies (English),
record procedures in science experiments (Science).


Retold stories have some or all of the following structures:

past tense,
reported speech and direct quotations,
logical connectors,
time phrases,
past conditionals.

Storytelling Procedure

Pick a story YOU want to read to the selected audience. Good story line and easily-seen pictures? Appropriate theme and good dialog? (See bibliography attached.)

Settle students in a circle of chairs. Show students cover and title and elicit predictions about the book. Stop at (or just before) climax and elicit predictions about ending of story.

Ask for opinions of story and WHY.

Initial Oral Assessment
Get protocol from a different student on a daily basis. While transcribing the protocol individually have the students retell the story in pairs. Rate the protocols on assessment scale, noting specific language strengths and weaknesses.

Classroom Activities: Focus on Accuracy

Chart Transcription
Choral Repetition
Present Tense
Oral Yes-No Questions
Practice Dictation
Choral Repetition
Oral Yes-No Questions
Oral Wh- Questions
Practice Dictation
Choral Repetition
Spelling Test
Verb Chart
Practice Dictation
Written Questions
Written Questions

Chart Transcription

Elicit student recall of story by asking for one idea about what happened next. Transcribe the story correctly on chart paper. Make a copy of the transcription for each student. (Use LCD on computer and make chart after class.)

Choral Repetition

Move from group to individual repetition as the week progresses working from the chart in the circle. Focus on pronunciation, phonics and minimal pairs (both production and understanding).

Present Tense

Ask individual students to come up to chart and with pen write the present tense form above a verb.

Oral Yes-No Questions

Ask: "Student X, ask student Y if ... . " Student X: "Did..." Student Y: "Yes,..." Point. to the sentence on the chart. Make the situation less structured as the week goes on. (i.e. "Can anyone ask a Yes-No Question?")

Oral Wh- Questions

Read and point out a sentence on the chart. Ask: "Student X, ask student Y a question using wh-..." Make it less structured as the week progresses. (i.e. "Can anyone ask a question about the story using wh-?")


Dictate 4-5 true sentences of words from the passage, but not direct quotes. Put 2 or more students at the board. Have the students circle errors on their own papers, correcting from the models at the board. On Tuesdays the chart is visible to all and then hidden the rest of the week or only visible to students who really need it.

Use standard dictation procedure:
1. Students listen to entire first sentence.
2. Students listen to first PHRASE (5-7 words) repeated and then write.
3. Repeat #2 for all the phrases in the sentence.
4. Students listen to the entire first sentence again and check their work.
5. Repeat #2, #3, #4 for all sentences.

On Fridays, the dictation is given under "test conditions", collected, corrected and the student given the number wrong. (For weak students, give them the number of words correct and watch that number go up as the weeks go by!)

Written Questions

After the dictation, chose two dictation sentences and have the students write a question about each.

Spelling Test

The students call out the words they think are the most difficult for spelling. All students make an attempt at spelling them without referring to the transcription or chart.

Verb Chart

The students make a two column table with the headings 'main' and 'past'. Tell them a verb from the story. The students put it in the right column and provide the other form.

Other Activities (based on writing problems)

1. Provide short sentences from the story. Students must combine two sentences using before, after, when, but, and , etc.

2. Find the nouns. Think about the story. Add descriptive words.

3. Remove all punctuation from the story. Students must put it back..





Level 2

Hill of Fire - Thomas Lewis
Strega Nona - Tomie DePaola
Curious George Takes A Job - H. A. Rey
Flight Into Danger - James Riordan
Caps for Sale - Esphyr Slobodkina
Chang's Paper Pony - Eleanor Coerr
LonPoPo - Ed Young
A Hole in the Dike - Norma Green
Danny and the Dinosaur - Syd Hoff
It Happened in Pinsk - Arthur Yorinks
How My Parents Learned to Eat - Ina R. Friedman
Faithful Elephants - Yukio Tsuchiya
The Man Who Kept House- Kathleen Hague (398.2)
Amos and Boris - William Steig
Chin Chiang and the Dragon's Dance - Ian Wallace
The Fourth Question - Rosalind Wang (398.2)
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses - Paul Goble

Level 1

Ming Lo Moves the Mountain - Arnold Lobel
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi - Chris van Allsburg
Wagon Wheels - Barbara Brenner
Five Minutes Peace - Jill Murphy
Duck on the Truck - Leonard Kessler
Under the Lemon Tree - Edith Thatcher Hurd
Louis the Fish - Arthur Yorinks
Crow Boy - Taro Yashima
The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Abridged) - Anderson (398.2)
Halloween with Morris And Boris - Bernard Wiseman
The Frog Prince - Edith H. Tarcow (398.2)

Smallwood, Betty Ansin. The Literature Connection: A Read-Aloud Guide for Multicultural Classrooms. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. 1991.
Celeste M. Scholz
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