Stories to retell

 Stories for children designed so that they can retell the story to each other (or their parents!).   

  the EFL Theatre Club facebook page if you found this site useful.

Watch children tell their stories using a simple mini-theatre

Children love listening to stories. Telling stories is a good way to introduce new langauge as well as review already learnt items. However, I think it is a missed opportunity if we stop at simply telling the story. We need to get the children retelling the story. The resources I have put here are simple stories designed to be retold by the young learners. That is, the story is short, simple, and comes with picture prompts. 

Use pictures to help the children retell the story.

When I tell a story, I simply draw a few pictures on the board as I go along. One for each key event. You don´t have to be artisitic. It doesn´t matter if, for example,  your picture of a rabbit climbing a tree doesn´t look like a rabbit climbing a tree. All you have to do is point to the picture as you say the part, and the children then get the idea that this funny picture represents "the rabbit climbing the tree". Job done. This picture is now ready to help them retell the story. With just a board pen, it is easy to produce simple pictures for lots of the simple stories contained in text books. With the stories below, I have provided a sheet with pictures, which can be copied one between 2 and reused. But on the whole, worksheets are not necessary. You just need a pen and a board!

How to go about telling the story.

This is very simple. It can done in one lesson, or or a series of lessons allowing you to cover other work from the book.

1. I first tell the story from the book. Alternativley they could listen to a CD. Interestingly, I have found that children listen far more intently when I tell the story myself. Maybe it makes it more personal. 
2. I retell the story, pointing to pictures on the board as I go. Either draw these on the board as you go, or draw then quickly while they are doing a comprehension exercise from the book.
3. I retell the story again. (This can be done the next lesson)
4. I retell the story, eliciting as much from the class as possible.
5. I try to get the whole class to retell the story, as a choral drill.
6. Children retell the story in pairs, looking at the pictures. One child tells the first bit, then their partner tells the next bit, and so on. I emphasise that I do not expect them to remember all the details. It doesn´t matter. They just have to try to retell the story "more or less".
7. Finally, I encourage them to try to tell the whole story on their own while their partner just listens.

As a final challenge, I sometimes ask them to turn over the paper, or not look at the board, and try to tell the whole story from memory! I emphasise that this is a real "challenge" etc. This usually gets them excited. Can they do It!
Stories suitable for lower levels (but can be used for higher levels too!)

Eli the Elephant    A simple story for lower level children. The story as a reading

A picnic in the park    Sasha goes to the park and meets a hungry alien. A simple story with versions for different levels.

A walk in the forest   Sasha goes for a walk in the forest and meets a dragon. A simple story with versions for different levels

Longer stories

A Space Adventure: (Power point)    Story to accompany powerpoint  An alien saves a princess from robots

The Signal: Part 1 (Powerpoint)  Story to accompany powerpoint   Astronauts receive a distress signal

The Signal: Part 2 (Powerpoint)

3 little monkeys    (Powerpoint): A song and a story

The Princess and the Witches How will the princess escape from the witches? The story as a reading
The Princess and the Witches (POWERPOINT)

The Princess and the witches play

The Princess and the witches play (lower lever)

Watch the cinema trailer!

The Princess and the Dragon     The story as areading
The Princess and the Dragon (POWERPOINT) 

The Princess's adventure.  (POWERPOINT) Same format as "The Princess and the dragon" but this time they meet an alien!        

The Princess's adventure  The story

The Magic Cauldron The story  The story as a reading

The Magic Cauldron   (POWERPOINT)

The Magic SeedA story about magic and the seasons  The story as a reading

The Magic Seed  (POWERPOINT)

The Stolen Crown   Three little dinosaurs try to rescue a stolen crown  The story as a reading

The Stolen Crown: Part 1 (POWERPOINT) 

Once the learners know the story why not get them to write it? "Getting children writing"

The Stolen Crown: Part 2  (POWERPOINT)

Have a question?: efl theatreclub Forum

The Magic Sword: Prepositions of place  A short story with pictures which practises prepositions of place. The same 

prepositions are practised in The Treasure Map (below)
The Magic Sword (POWERPOINT)

The Treasure Map: Prepositions of place    The story as a reading

The Treasure map (POWERPOINT)

The Dragon   A dragon terrorises a town but it turns out he is a friendly dragon, but the locals don´t understand him because they don´t speak English! A little girl who has learnt English saves the day!

Sophie the monkey  Sophie the monkey saves a bird trapped in a tree, much to the surprise of the other animals.   This story has a simple 2 page play to go with it.Sophie the monkey - play (7 parts)  and 
Sophie the monkey - play (12 parts)

Santa's day: Daily routines    A simple picture story for students to retell (in the present simple or past simple). For tips on how to use this story in the clasroom, see Stories.

Santa and the king      Can Santa help the king and sort out the witches?   A simple story (in the present simple or past simple)   The story as a reading

Santa and the King (POWERPOINT)


Santa's adventure. An evil robot santa Kidnaps the real Santa Clause. Can the elves save him? 

Santa's adventure: Part 1 (POWERPOINT)  

This story was too big to upload as one file, hence I have had to divide it into 2 parts. It is designed to be told as one story.

Santa's adventure: Part 2 (POWERPOINT) 

Once the learners know the story why not get them to write it? "Getting children writing"