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Written and Oral Retellings

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  1. Written and Oral Retellings Dr. Valerie J. Robnolt Virginia Commonwealth University vjrobnolt@vcu.edu

  2. Agenda for Today: • What are retellings? • Narrative text structure • Expository text structure • How to elicit retellings • How to score retellings

  3. Retellings: What is the big idea? • Morrow (1989) defines retellings as “postreading or postlistening recalls in which readers or listeners tell what they remember either orally or in writing” (p. 40). • Comprehension can be reflected through retellings because assimilation and reconstruction of a text occurs by the reader. • Retellings are an active procedure that allows children to integrate and personalize the content of the text, as well as to see the interrelation of the parts of the text and how the text relates to their personal experiences. Morrow, L.M. (1989). Using story retelling to develop comprehension. In K.D. Muth (Ed.), Children’s comprehension of text: Research into practice (pp. 37-58). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  4. Narrative Text Structure • More common and usually written to entertain. • Includes characters that have goals and motives. • The beginning of the story establishes the setting. • The main character has a problem that needs to be solved or a goal that needs to be attained. • There are episodes that lead to the resolution of the problem or goal attainment. • There is an impact on the reader’s emotions. • Includes a theme. From Dickson, S.V., Simmons, D.C., & Kameenui, E.J. (1998). Text organization: Research bases. In D.C. Simmons & E.J. Kameenui (Eds.). What reading research tells us about children with diverse learning needs: Bases and basics (pp. 239-277). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  5. Story Mapping “Instruction in story mapping promotes students’ comprehension of central story elements. These findings are consistent with a number of extant studies of story mapping instruction.” (Baumann & Bergeron, 1993)

  6. Steps in Using a Story Map • With the students, review the key parts of a story. • Find a story that clearly illustrates story structure and read it to your students. • Model the process of filling out a story map with the students as they fill out their own. • Decide on the author’s theme using the information provided in the story map. • Have students work with partners to complete a story map on a story they read independently. From Buehl, D. (2001). Story mapping. In Classroom strategies for interactive learning (2nd ed., pp. 135-137). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  7. Teaching Narrative Genres • Build background knowledge of the genre. Find out what the students know about the genre andprepare them to read the genre. • Read aloud a selection of the genre and teach the elements of the genre. • Provide an opportunity for students to read another example of the genre in small groups with teacher support. • Have students write their own version of the genre. From Buss, K., & Karnowski, L. (2000). Reading and writing literary genres. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  8. Realistic Fiction: Types • Family and friends: The story centers around family and relationships. • Humorous: The story centers around a problem that is shown from the funny side of life. • Survival: The story centers around a main character having to overcome difficult conditions to stay alive. • Animal: A story that includes an animal as character, but the animal is realistic and not personified. • Sports: The story includes sports as a component of the theme.

  9. Mysteries • A crime, secret, or puzzle is the conflict. • The plot includes clues to solve the mystery. • Characters play different types of roles: • Sleuth: Detective, usually the protagonist • Villain: Evil-doer, antagonist • Suspects: Those thought to be the villain • Victim: The one who has something happen to them by the villain • The author must create suspense through foreshadowing, red herrings, and cliffhangers.

  10. Traditional Folktales • Stories that are told by the people. • The beginning and end are patterned (i.e., “Once upon a time,” and “happily ever after”). • Characters are stereotypical and not well-developed and are either good or evil. • The themes reflect the values of the culture in which the story takes place. • Common motifs: Animals, magic, trickery, test, and supernatural. • Types in the genre: Beast/animal tales, wonder tales, legends, tall tales, myths, pourquoi tales, fables, cumulative tales.

  11. Fantasy • Low fantasy: The story takes place in our world with magical elements that make it impossible for the story to happen. • High fantasy: The story occurs in a secondary world that has different rules from our world yet the rules are consistent in that world. • Suspension of disbelief: The author writes the story so that it is believable. • The problem is one that can occur in the real world, but fantastic or unordinary means are used to solve it. • Types: Articulate animals, toys come alive, little people, time warp.

  12. Expository Text Structures • Written to inform the reader. • The majority of what students read in school is expository, so students need to develop an understanding of the structures. • Each type has an organization that includes different relationships between the text’s important information. From Dickson, S.V., Simmons, D.C., & Kameenui, E.J. (1998). Text organization: Research bases. In D.C. Simmons & E.J. Kameenui (Eds.). What reading research tells us about children with diverse learning needs: Bases and basics (pp. 239-277). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  13. Expository Text Structure Instruction • Bring students’ attention to clues that an author uses to signal how one idea is related to another. • Evaluate how authors systematically attempt to bring structure to a text. • Teach students to scan, skim, and read. They should scan the text for headings, illustrations and captions, charts, graphs, and vocabulary words in bold print. Then they should skim the text for information, followed by closely reading the important information. • Teach students to create visual representations of the important ideas found in a text (e.g., networking, flowcharting, semantic mapping).

  14. What does research say? “Research evidence suggests that well-structured expository text facilitates comprehension of main ideas or topics, rather than facts.” (Dickson, Simmons, and Kameenui, 1998)

  15. Expository Text Genres: Recounts • Provides an account of an event or series of events that are memorable in the author’s life or in another person’s life. • Types: Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, personal journal or diary, and personal letters. • Usually written in the past tense with strong verbs, time-related words, and descriptive adjectives. From Buss, K., & Karnowski, L. (2002). Reading and writing nonfiction genres. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  16. Procedural Texts • Designed to allow readers to achieve an intended purpose by following a set of steps. • Two major purposes: • To explain: How to achieve a goal or to detail a process of how something is created or prepared (e.g., recipes, manuals, to explain a process). • To instruct: Guide or inform a reader (e.g., game rules, science experiments). • When explaining, use time-related words to aid the reader (e.g., first, last, next, before).

  17. Sequentially Ordered Texts • Follow a predetermined pattern to present information in sequence. • Types: ABC and counting books, atlases, dictionaries, cycle books (i.e., the events begin and end at the same point). • Use descriptive adjectives, begin sentences with a prepositional phrases, and highlight content words.

  18. Informational Texts • Main purpose is to present factual information on a particular topic or event. • Purposes for writing vary greatly and will dictate the structure, so not all will have the same text structures. • Purposes: To describe, to define a topic, identify causes and effects, to compare and contrast, to identify problems and find the solutions. • Teach students to write a paragraph focusing on a certain topic.

  19. How to Elicit a Retelling • Before a child reads or listens to a story, explain that after they read/listen, you would like for them to tell what the story was about as if they were telling it to a friend who has never read/heard it before. • After they read/listen, repeat the same line again. If the child is providing an oral retelling, tape record it. Otherwise, have the child write their retelling completely. • When they have finished, provide this prompt, “Is there anything else that you remember about the story?”

  20. Gambrell’s Text Clues Strategy • The teacher provides the children with words from the text that can be used to help with their retelling. • This gives the children support in doing their retelling.

  21. How to Score a Retelling • If the child did an oral retelling, transcribe it word for word. • Use Morrow’s (1986) 10-point scale for scoring. • Create a sample scoring sheet for the story that includes all the possible information. • Score the child’s retelling against the sample scoring sheet. • The child receives a score of 1-10. • The score can be converted to a percentage for grading purposes.

  22. Advantages to Scoring Retellings This Way • Morrow’s 10-point scale is based on narrative text structure. This can help determine how well a teacher has taught the narrative story elements as well as how well a child has learned them. • It provides a quantitative way to measure progress over time. You would want to see an improvement in scores as the year progresses.

  23. Disadvantages to Scoring Retellings This Way • It is time-consuming because you have to create the sample scoring sheet to which retellings are compared.

  24. Most importantly… • Retellings are a way for children to show that they have made meaning from what they have read which is the reason for reading. • Retellings are the most natural way to improve comprehension as well as assess it. • Retellings are directly connected to knowledge of narrative and expository text structure.