EL Support Lesson

Retelling a Fiction Story

This lesson is a great introductory or review lesson to teach your ELs about the elements of a story. Can be used as a stand alone lesson or a pre-lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Retelling of The Monkey King: A Famous Chinese Story lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Retelling of The Monkey King: A Famous Chinese Story lesson plan.

Students will be able to retell the beginning, middle, and end of a story read aloud to them.


Students will be able to retell a story verbally with key grade level words and phrases using pictures and graphic organizers for support

(5 minutes)
  • Tell the students a short fictional story such as, "There was a green caterpillar. The caterpillar lived in the forest and was very happy there. The caterpillar loved to eat leaves. One day, the caterpillar couldn't find any leaves to eat and was very hungry. He looked and looked. Then a bird flew over and told him that there was a tree with many leaves nearby. The caterpillar was very happy."
  • Ask the class to think about what happened in the beginning of the story, prompting them as needed by saying, "What happened first? Did the caterpillar feel sad because he was hungry?"
  • Write beginning/middle/end on the board and then under each word write one sentence and draw a simple picture to illustrate the sequence of the story.
  • Explain that a story is always told in a special order, the beginning/middle/end. Otherwise the story might be too confusing or wouldn't make sense.
  • Ask the students who the story is about.
  • Have the students turn and talk to a partner to finish the sentence stem, "The story is about ____."
  • Invite student pairs to share out their thinking by sharing aloud.
  • Say, "The person or people in a story are called the characters in the story. A character is usually an animal or person that a story is about."
(5 minutes)
  • Display the vocabulary cards and the glossary words to the class.
  • Provide student-friendly definitions for each of the words, using examples from the story you told in the introduction.
  • Have the students practice using the vocabulary words using sentences starters such as:
    • The characters in the story are ____.
    • The setting of the story is the ____.
  • Explain that many stories have a problem or challenge and then a solution.
  • Provide examples of these from a familiar story or add to your made up story.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the story A House For Hermit Crab By Eric Carle .
  • Write the words: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end on the board.
  • As you read, pause to point out the characters, setting, problem, and solution.
  • Ask students to help you identify where to write the characters, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and ending on the board.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out the Map That Story worksheet to each student and have them complete the worksheet independently for the read aloud book.
  • Encourage students to use drawings or words in each of the sections.


  • Provide students with vocabulary words in their home language.
  • Pair students up with another student who speaks the same home language for the assessment.


  • Encourage students to write complete sentences when completing their worksheet. Provide them with a copy of the glossary to use as a reference.
(5 minutes)
  • Pair students up with a partner to share their worksheet. Have each pair practice verbally telling their partner the character, setting, beginning, middle, and end of the story using their worksheet as a reference.
  • Provide students with sentence stems to use as needed.
  • Collect student work to assess if students were able to accurately reflect the characters, setting, beginning, middle, and end of the story.
(3 minutes)
  • Close the class by reviewing the key vocabulary words and clarifying any confusion as needed.

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