Lesson plan

Read and Retell a Classic Story

Your students will enjoy reading the classic story “The Ugly Duckling,” written about a very lovable duck! This reading lesson also includes a fun partner activity to help your students practice comprehension.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Retelling with Paragraph Frames pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Retelling with Paragraph Frames pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to retell a fictional text with relevant details.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they will be reading a classic story called The Ugly Duckling.
  • Tell them that they will first read the story as a whole group, then they will read with partners.
  • Explain to the class that at the end of the lesson, they will have a chance to retell the story using pictures to help them remember to include details about the people, places, things, and events that happened in the story.
(20 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of the reading passage and a highlighter.
  • Project the reading passage on the board. Ask a volunteer to identify the title, and have everyone highlight this on their own copies.
  • Ask your students to make a prediction about how the story ends. Jot their ideas on the board. If your students have already read the story, ask other students.
  • Remind your students that as they read the story, they should pay close attention to the characters and events in the story as they happen.
  • Explain to your students that when they understand what they read, this is called comprehension.
  • Read the story as a whole group.
  • If there is a word that your students do not know, have them circle the word with the highlighter so that you can come back to the words and review them. At the end of the story, review the words that students highlighted.
(15 minutes)
  • Instruct your students to read the passage again with partners. Have them take turns reading sentences or paragraphs.
  • As students are reading in partners, float around the room and help students with difficult words.
  • As you circulate the room, ask your students guiding questions. Potential questions include: "Who are the characters in the story? Which character helps the ugly duckling grow into a confident swan? What are some things that happen in the story? What are the places we read about in the story?"
(30 minutes)
  • After the students are finished reading the story, pass out the Story Cards activity, construction paper, scissors, and glue to each student.
  • Direct your students to cut out the pictures and put them in order from beginning to end. Have them glue the pictures in order on construction paper.
  • Once some of the students have finished cutting and gluing their pictures on the construction paper, pass out crayons for students to use to color in their pictures while they wait for others to finish.
  • When your students are done with this activity, have them pair up with someone and retell the story. Make sure each partner gets a turn to tell the story.
  • Tell students to retell the story clearly and remind them to describe the story with relevant details.


  • If a student needs a challenge, ask her to rewrite the ending of The Ugly Duckling. Potential guiding questions include: What would happen if the ugly duckling did not run into a kind old woman? What would happen if the ugly duckling had not seen its reflection?


  • Have your students verbally retell the story without completing the picture card sequence.
  • Have struggling students listen and read along to the interactive story if they need help with their reading.
(5 minutes)
  • During guided practice and independent working time, rotate around the room to check that students are reading well and placing the pictures in the correct order.
  • Monitor student retelling of the story to make sure they include appropriate details, such as the people, places, things, and events in the story.
(5 minutes)
  • Call on a few students to discuss the successes of the lesson and the parts that were challenging.
  • Have one volunteer retell the story.
  • Allow students to express their ideas about the volunteer's retelling. For example, have them give encouragement for including some ideas or events but excluding unnecessary details from the story.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items