Retelling Stories with Language and Understanding
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A story could have repeating phrases or recurring events that
must be retold over and over again to keep the integrity of the
story intact.

Stories carry a specific language structure that differs from the
way we typically hold conversations.

Not all stories follow the aforementioned European narrative map. With
an influx of immigrants, refugees, and other second-language learners in our
schools, knowledge of cultural variance especially found in traditional stories
is crucial. It requires teachers to let go of their long-held assumptions that all
fiction follows a similar pattern. For example, Resnick and Snow indicate that
in some cultures, the story is mapped more as circles around the theme in var-
ious ways (common in Latino and African American stories) as opposed to a
more sequential European map (2009). The authors note on the other hand that
some Japanese stories are more succinct than European versions, suggesting
that the stories are “concise accounts that mirror the artistic precision of haiku
poems” (10).

Identifying Structures in Expository Text
The word expository is derived from the word expose, which means “to reveal.”
Expository text is nonfiction writing, and in the case of biography, memoir,
or history, expository text could appear in a similar manner as narrative text.

Expository text explains, informs, describes, defines, and instructs. Children
typically come into initial contact with expository text when they check out
books from the library about animals or dinosaurs, places to visit, or historic/
contemporary figures. In the early childhood years, expository text shows up
in science or social studies (and other content-related) textbooks or literature.

Young children need experiences with expository texts in interactive read-
alouds (connected to inquiry-oriented projects or interest-driven searches) for
the sake of navigating reading for information when they are older.

Children engaged with nonfiction benefit from understanding the organi-
zational structure of expository text. They benefit from knowing that exposi-
tory text is organized into big ideas as headings with details to follow. Captions
are under pictures. What they are reading is true information as best as can be
told. Likewise, teachers help young students organize their nonfiction retell-
ings (sharing information) under similar structures. The many content-area
disciplines organize information differently; examples of typical organizational
structures are as follows:
•• Describing by stating the overall topic, offering big ideas, and
following with details for each big idea. Often this is a mainstay
with our youngest learners because this version of expository text
is so compatible with observation and working with real materials
(such as flowers and insects).