Lesson plan

What Happened?

Help your students' story telling abilities grow with this lesson that helps them recount what happened in a story and has them point out key details.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using the 5 W's pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using the 5 W's pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to retell a story and demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Draw a star on the board. In each of the star's five corners, write the following words: who, what, where, when, why (5 W's).
  • Next to the star, write the 5 W's again so students can read them better.
  • Choral read the 5 W's aloud as a whole group.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be able to choose and read a choice story and use the 5 W's ask and answer questions about what is happening in the story.
  • Help students choose a book at their reading level.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that when they ask and answer questions about a fictional text, they are able to have a deeper understanding of the story and clear up any confusion they may have.
  • Explain to the students that they will read their story out loud to a teacher or partner and then retell the story in their own words. They will then ask and answer some questions about the story or a topic in the story while in partnerships.
  • Ask students if they have any questions.
(15 minutes)
  • Choose a student to model retelling a story while you ask questions about their retelling to clear up any confusion. Ask them questions like:
    • "Why would you add ____ to your retelling?"
    • "What other information do you think is important?"
    • "Do you think you can leave out _____ when you retell the story?"
  • After each question, allow the student volunteer to answer the question to clear up any confusion.
  • Have students partner up and practice reading to each other while you are working with other students.
(20 minutes)
  • Take turns listening to each child read. After they have read the story, put students in A/B partnerships.
  • Explain to the students that first, Partner A will ask Partner B questions about the story they read and Partner B will answer the questions to the best of their ability (e.g. What happened in the story? Who were the characters? Where did the story take place? What was your favorite part of the story? Why? What was your least favorite part of the story? Why?)
  • When partner B has finished answering the questions, the partners will switch roles (Partner B asks Partner A questions about the story).
  • Provide students with the Star Graphic Organizer worksheet if necessary to support them in asking their partners questions, or write the questions on the whiteboard for students to refer to.

Enrichment: Students can write down their answers to the guided questions or choose more than one story to read.

Support: Students may have a story read out loud to them, or they may buddy up with another student to help them with the reading.

  • Use the Formative Assessment: Fictional Text Retell Checklist to assess student's understanding of the story as they retell the story. Evaluate student answers as they ask and answer questions about the topics in their retelling.
(10 minutes)
  • Encourage students to share and talk about their book in front of the class.
    • Remind students that by asking and answering questions about key details in a text using the 5 W's, they will understand what they read better and help clear up any confusion they may have about the text!

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