Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday! Books to Reread and Retell #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack
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It’s Monday! Books to Reread and Retell #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack

Young readers love to read their favorite books again and again. We are always on the lookout for picture books with an engaging storyline, an easy-to-remember refrain, and reliable picture support so our readers can reread and retell together.  We found some great ones in our reading stacks this summer – and here are a few we are rereading!

We want retelling work to be engaging and active. When we give students opportunities to read with a partner, to retell in groups, and to act out their favorite scenes, they construct a deeper understanding of the story elements.   Partners retell by turning the pages and saying what happened or they take on the characters’ roles and act as if they are those characters. During center time, we encourage readers to take these books into the block area to construct the setting or use props to bring these stories to life in the drama area. No matter how readers choose to retell, we want them to know that reading is a playful and meaning-making activity.

We find that texts with a strong problem/solution structure and strong feelings for the students to discuss and act out work really well.  To get these types of books into the readers’ hands, we “book talk” several titles and then watch as these books fly off the classroom shelves when it is time for children to choose.  Students even help us create baskets in the classroom library of the books they love to retell and act out.

Here are three books we recently shared with kindergarten and first-grade students that we think will be perfect for this basket:

There Might Be Lobsters, Carolyn Crimi and Laurel Molk

Sukie is a dog who is afraid to go into the water and she has lots of excuses as to why she can’t go swimming.  When she sees her favorite stuffed animal floating out to sea, she rushes into the water to save her. Kids love this dog story!  We love the strong turning point and close in ending.

We don’t eat our CLASSMATES, Ryan T. Higgins

If you teach Kindergarten, you have to read this book to your class.  Kids will get a kick out of having a dinosaur in the classroom who eats children and then spits them out.  Besides, retelling, this is a great book to launch a classroom conversation about the mistakes we all make at times and how we can learn and grow from them.

Telephone, Mac Barnett and Jen Corace

When these birds are sitting on a telephone wire, trying to convey Mama’s message down the line, silliness erupts, and the news gets distorted.  What a fun book to talk about the power of listening and to help readers understand how to think about the main problem in a text.  This one will not only have kids laughing, but it will also introduce them to the old-fashioned game of telephone.

We can tell students will return to these books again and again.  Which books would you and your students add to the read and retell baskets?  Check out this Pinterest board to see some other titles we have in this basket.

  • Avatar
    Lisa Maucione
    Posted at 12:24h, 08 October Reply

    I have not read Telephone yet. I need to check that one out.

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    Linda Baie
    Posted at 14:00h, 08 October Reply

    My youngest granddaughter, just beginning to read, but an avid book lover will love There Might Be Lobsters, a fun storyline & at the ocean! She loves for me and the family to read books to her, then takes over, creates her own story, and now I’ve noticed sometime that she is reading the words! It’s a fun transition to see. Thanks for all three. I enjoyed Telephone very much.

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    Elisabeth Ellington
    Posted at 14:39h, 08 October Reply

    Thanks for reminding me how much I enjoyed Telephone. Might need to reread that one! (There Might Be Lobsters was another favorite this year.)

  • Avatar
    Posted at 18:11h, 08 October Reply

    I love the ways you help students construct a deeper understanding of the stories they’re reading. Sooo important! I’m eagerly looking forward to There Might Be Lobsters. But I somehow missed Telephone when it was published, so I’m adding that to my wish list. Thank you for the shares and have a wonderful reading week!

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    Susan Kennedy
    Posted at 19:55h, 08 October Reply

    Love more books for storybook reading. I too love please don’t eat your classmates for so many reason mostly because it appeals to my humor.

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    Aaron Cleaveley
    Posted at 23:03h, 08 October Reply

    I really enjoy all three of your choices! We Don’t Eat our Classmates works with any audience but you mentioned early school audiences and that made me think of My Teacher is a Monster. There Might be Lobsters has an element of showing bravery and that made me think I need to read it next week as courage is one of our school’s character themes. This week I read Jabari Jumps for that purpose (Partially). Thanks for the great post!

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    Posted at 01:24h, 09 October Reply

    I haven’t read Telephone, and I really want to now!
    I love Please Don’t Eat Your Classmates–Higgins is so great!

    Happy reading this week 🙂

  • Avatar
    Myra from GatheringBooks
    Posted at 09:53h, 09 October Reply

    I really enjoyed Telephone when it first came out – I think it was nominated or shortlisted for a Cybils, at one point, if I am not mistaken. Have a great reading week!

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