Chapter 1
characters, settings, plots, themes, problems, and solutions, and typically we
predict that the problem might be resolved closer to the end. Children who
have experiences with story retelling internalize the conceptual story map and
apply it to the stories they have learned. Morrow found that story retellers in
kindergarten and first grade applied structural elements of story when asked to
dictate original stories (1996).

Morrow further reports that story retelling builds sum-
marizing skills. Inevitably, when children retell stories, they
must be able to communicate effectively the gist of the story in
the retelling (2015). Researchers Brainerd and Renya (1993)
studied two types of memory in childhood: verbatim memory
(remembering particular, perhaps even exact, details), and
gist (the essential idea). The research indicates that children of
all ages are capable of obtaining gist. Younger children, how-
ever, characteristically tend to “store and retrieve verbatim
memory traces,” which are defined as “precise details of the
information” and are not as enduring as gist (Santrock 2012,
359). Although story retelling is not summarizing, it relies on
summarizing skills and capturing gist in the retelling, which
may be more challenging for very young children. Knowing
that capturing the gist of story is more difficult for young
children provides us with further rationale for using a devel-
opmental perspective in teaching story-retelling strategies to
young children. It also rationalizes using props and visual aids
with young children.

Gibson, Gold, and Sgouros suggest that story retelling
This teacher and her young students are or-
ganizing for a story enactment by identifying
demonstrates what children remember. They also suggest that
how many children are in the group and how
story retelling requires children to reconstruct and reflect on
many characters are in the book.

text. Children may distinguish words and consider meanings
as they reconstruct and retell. “Retellings require children to
think more conceptually—to look at the bigger picture—rather than answering
specific questions about the text” (2003, 2).

Similarly, Morrow indicates that story retelling promotes organization of
thought. Both Morrow and Owocki advocate for quality teacher facilitation in
moving children toward organized thinking about story (2015; 1999). Orga-
nized thinking about story results from meaningful and intentional discussions
over stories. Teachers organize key elements of story when asking about char-
acters or requesting sequence of events, for example.

Story retelling engages children and adults in active discussions (Morrow
1996). A proponent of positive interactions with young children in literacy-rich
environments, Morrow promotes modeling responses if children are not able
to supply them to teachers. Modeling is an effective strategy to promote lan-
guage use among nonresponders and English-language learners.

Morrow further indicates that story retelling provides a venue for demon-
strating and discussing text-to-self connections (2015). Most preschool chil-
dren are able to make connections between narrative text and themselves with