Retell Bedtime Stories to Boost Reading Comprehension

Try this simple strategy to help your child absorb all the details as she reads.

By Allison McDonald
Oct 29, 2015



Retell Bedtime Stories to Boost Reading Comprehension

Oct 29, 2015

Reading came easy to my son but because it was so easy he rushed through texts. He would read quickly eager to get to the next word, page, or chapter. When we would ask him what happened or for a summary the details were lost. His comprehension was nowhere near where his actual ability was.

One simple strategy helped fix that! Retelling a story isn’t just a great way to see if your child understands the plot and vocabulary, it’s also a great way to see if they are able to connect what they are reading to other events, stories, or ideas. This is the next level of thinking and while not vital for our youngest readers, this skill is important as children develop more complex literacy skills. Practicing retelling is a wonderful way to develop this at your child’s pace.

Here is what we did — my husband and I took turns every night reading the same book with my son. The next day over dinner he’d have to retell the chapter he read to catch the parent who wasn’t there up with what happened. We’d add a few comprehension questions like "What do you think this character or that character will do next” or “ What do you think the author wants us to think will happen?”

Having this conversation over dinner where both adults were present helped especially when we first started doing this because it let the parent who was there reading with him step in and model retelling if his was not detailed enough. Soon we all just listened as he told us what was going on in the book.

This strategy worked wonders for us and can for you too. If you don’t have the ability to have two adults read ask a grandparent or close friend to help out. You can read with your child and have the other adult ask to be told all about the book over the period of time you are reading. Check in with them multiple times to give them updates. That way you can be that retelling model if need be. With older children, you can have them read independently and give you updates, just the act of retelling will help boost their comprehension.

If we take the time to read with your children ( yes even the big ones) we can fit these little strategies in and make a huge difference in their literacy development!

How have you helped your child with their literacy development? Share your tips on Scholastic Parents Facebook!


Bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald will lead a Facebook chat on Tuesday, November 10th at 8pm ET about their new book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers. RSVP here.



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