Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell

In this article, we will cover how parents can support their children with story retell and how easy-to-find speech therapy resources for teaching children how to retell a story can play an important role in strengthening their child’s general language skills, reading comprehension skills and social skills. Narrative generation, a connected task, is also discussed.

Parents can play an important part in the academic success of their children.

It is helpful to understand that many of the curriculums for story retell differ in varying degrees with respect to method and the exact terminology used. Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to structure their therapy sessions according to the optimal level of support for each student’s need. 

As such, when determining the best method to support your child’s story retell and narrative generation, it is recommended that you speak with your child’s Speech Language Pathologist to ensure that any support being provided at home complements your child’s speech and language therapy.

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell

What is Story Retell? 

Story retell is retelling the relevant parts of a story, in the right order.

Teaching Without Frills on YouTube created a great overview to help you better understand story retell:

Why do Speech-Language Pathologists Practice Story Retell?

Speech-Language Pathologists practice story retell because of its effectiveness in strengthening a child’s overall language, social and reading comprehension skills. 

It may be helpful to have some background knowledge in the components of language in order to fully appreciate how story retell is a powerful tool in supporting children’s academic and social success.

Children must master and integrate several different components of language to become effective communicators. 

The separate components of language include 

  1. vocabulary, 
  2. grammar (including the structure of words and the structure of sentences), 
  3. the social aspect of communication, and 
  4. even the individual sounds themselves. 

Fortunately, formal instruction in story retell and narrative generation has been demonstrated to be beneficial in bolstering all of the components of language.

It follows that story retell and personal narrative generation are a popular treatment area and goal for children with language challenges. By treating all areas of language, story retell instruction provides the child with a foundation for academic and social success (Source: ASHAWire).

In other words, story retell in speech and language therapy provides a lot of bang for your buck. 

This is why story retell activities are a popular subject of speech therapy resources and why information regarding how to retell a story is a helpful speech therapy parent resource.

What are some Story Retell Speech Therapy Resources for Parents? 

You will find loads of resources to support parents and their children with Story Retell. Some of the most popular include: Story Retell Worksheets, Story Retell Graphic Organizers and Story Retell Rope.

These are just a few of the free, easy-to-find, online speech therapy resources for how to retell a story which you may come across. 

These story retell resources differ somewhat with respect to terminology and approach. Below we explain each further.

Story Retell Worksheets & Story Retell Graphic Organizers

Story Retell Worksheets are printables that aid in the retelling of a story; online search results for Story Retell Worksheets will include Story Retell Graphic Organizers.

Here is an example of a very simple Story Retell Worksheet page by abcmissp on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell
Simple Story Retell Page by abcmissp

Story Retell Graphic Organizers, also referred to as Story Maps, are visual and graphic displays that aid in the organization of the story retell task. 

Here is an example of a Story Retell Graphic Organizer by Justine Greenlee on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell
Story Retell Graphic Organizer FREE by Justine Greenlee

The simpler versions of Story Retell Worksheets and Graphic Organizers focus on beginning, middle and end events of the story. More advanced Story Retell Graphic Organizers also include Story Grammar Elements, which are the different components of a story, such as problem, action and ending. 

Note that there are many different Story Grammar Elements and the specific Story Grammar Elements targeted in any given Story Retell Worksheet or Graphic Organizer will vary.

When Speech-Language Pathologists and other educators practice story retell, the particular Story Grammar Elements targeted differs according to the students’ skill level and other factors. Generally, children focus on just a few Story Grammar Elements at first and additional Story Grammar Elements are added as they advance in their story retelling practice.

In addition to a focus on many different Story Grammar Elements, even more challenging Story Retell Graphic Organizers might include components such as character traits, theme, point-of-view and plot.

For a selection of simple and complex Story Retell Graphic Organizers, along with book suggestions to practice how to retell a story, check out this page from Reading Rockets, here

Story Retell Rope

Along with Story Retell Worksheets and Story Retell Graphic Organizers, the Story Retell Rope is a popular resource for story retelling practice. 

Here is a picture of the original CAFE Approach Story Retell Rope on Pinterest.

The “Story Retell Rope” is based on the “CAFE” Approach to successful reading. CAFE stands for

  1. Comprehension
  2. Accuracy
  3. Fluency
  4. Expanding Vocabulary.

Story retell falls under “comprehension” in the CAFE Approach. A rope with eighth knots in it is modeled to the students. The knots represent the following

  1. Characters
  2. Setting
  3. Problem
  4. Event 1
  5. Event 2
  6. Event 3
  7. Event 4
  8. Ending

Additionally, MindWing Concepts, Inc. sells a story rope (“Story Grammar Marker“) with removable icons representing the different Story Grammar Elements. The website also contains a list of books that are helpful for targeting story retell with free sample lesson plans.

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell

What Other Skills Does Story Retell Speech Support?

It may be helpful to note that your child’s speech and language therapy goals pertaining to Story Retell may also include additional targets such as a focus on 

  • vocabulary, 
  • grammatical structure (e.g.,  proper verb tense and agreement), 
  • proper sequencing (i.e., order) of events, 
  • proper use of transition words (e.g., first, then, so, finally), 
  • identification of character feelings and/or other story grammar elements, and
  • prediction and inferencing. 

As mentioned earlier, regardless of whether any of these additional goals are formally targeted in speech and language therapy, the student benefits in all areas of language through practicing story retell and personal narrative generation. 

Further, practicing story retell in speech and language therapy may also help develop and support higher level cognitive functioning and social communication skills. This is because an effective storyteller brings together several high-level cognitive processes in order to engage the listener. For example, to become an effective storyteller, the child 

  • Must effectively organize thoughts and include enough information so that the listener understands the story, but not too many details lest the listener become confused and/or disinterested. 
  • Understands “Theory of Mind” or the realization that others may think and feel differently than she or he does. 
  • Has developed her or his inferencing skills and is able to use clues from the text and his or her own experiences to “read between the lines;” that is, determine things not explicitly stated in the text. 

All things considered, it likely comes as no surprise that proficiency in storytelling has great social benefits. According to an article in the Journal of Early Intervention, skilled storytellers attract more attention from peers and, therefore, have greater opportunities to practice language (further supporting their narrative and story retelling abilities). 

As such, speech and language therapy incorporating story retell and narrative generation is an important tool in supporting social communication development and success.

Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Story Retell

How do Speech-Language Pathologists Support Story Retell?

Speech-Language Pathologists utilize a number of strategies, tailored to the child’s specific needs and concerns, to best support their students’ story retell (and narrative development) strategies. 

For example, as mentioned earlier with respect to Story Retell Worksheets and Graphic Organizers, educators and Speech-Language Pathologists may focus first on separating the story into its beginning, middle and end parts. As the students advance, story retell practice may progress into a focus on the individual Story Grammar Elements.

Story Champs by Language Dynamics Group is a popular intervention curriculum used by Speech-Language Pathologists and educators to practice story retell and personal narrative generation. Depending on the level of intervention, the Story Champs curriculum focuses on a varying number of Story Grammar Elements such as character(s), setting, problem, feeling, action, ending and end feeling and provides for several different therapy sizes (large group, small group and individual). 

The curriculum also includes icons for the individual Story Grammar Elements as well as pictures to aid in the story retell. Icons and pictures are faded (taken away) once the child no longer needs the additional support (Source: Journal of Early Intervention).

By learning to identify the Story Grammar Elements in story after story during speech and language therapy sessions, with varying levels of support, children are provided with organization and structure to assist in their independent retelling of stories and generation/retelling of personal narratives. 

What is the Role of Narrative Generation in Story Retell?

Closely related to story retell, narrative generation is the creation of a personal story. 

Children and adults tell (“generate”) and retell narratives in order to recount events, relate to others, establish and maintain relationships and share thoughts and feelings about events. (Source: ASHAWire). As such, effective narrative generation is an important element of social communication.

Should Parents consider using Story Retell Worksheets as a Speech Therapy Resource?

Due to its ability to support children’s academic and social success, many different speech therapy tools and speech therapy resources have been created for practicing and targeting storytelling and narrative generation, including Story Retell Worksheets.

It’s important for parents to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ pertaining to story retell in their child’s speech and language therapy. The more parents know about their child’s particular speech and language therapy goals and the process for treating these goals, the better the parents themselves can support their child’s progress by:

  • Asking the right questions.
  • Providing complementary support at home.
  • Understanding why progress is happening at a certain pace.

As always, it is recommended that you speak with your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist to understand your child’s specific language goals and learn more about how your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist is structuring your child’s speech therapy with respect to story retell and personal narrative development. Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to utilize the most effective, evidence-based, individualized approach to your child’s speech and language therapy needs. 

It is our hope that this post provided some helpful information as to why your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist may place such an emphasis on developing his or her story retell and narrative abilities. You might want to also check out Speech Therapist Tools’ links to resources for free storybooks online or to practice story retell at home or at therapy.

For more speech therapy parent resources, check out our “Parent Resources” Speech Therapist Tools category and our blog post, “Speech Therapy Resources for Parents: Phonological Awareness.”

Special thanks to press 👍 and ⭐,Tumisu, and Amberrose Nelson for the use of their photos in this article. 

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