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Comprehension skills are also practiced here by retelling Rylant’s “The Relatives Came”


Language Arts  


1, 2, 3  

Title – Retelling “The Relatives Came” by Cynthia Rylant
By – Eileen Finn
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 1 – 3
Duration – Approximately 45 minutes




      Students will build comprehension by retelling

The Relatives Came

    by Cynthia Rylant. They will retell the beginning, middle and end.

New York State ELA Standard 2:

    Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literacy response and expression.


  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils and crayons


    Prior to beginning this lesson, review the rules for sitting on the floor and listening to a read-aloud.


      Begin the lesson by explaining to the students that good readers are able to show their understanding of a book by retelling it. Ask the students the following questions:
        How many of you come to school on Mondays and tell your friends what you did over the weekend? (

Making a personal connection

        Do you tell them what you did on Sunday before you tell them what you did on Saturday? (


        “That is retelling. Today we are going to do the same thing, but with our books. When we retell, we use our own words to say what the book is about. We can use words such as: first, then, next, last or finally.”


      Then show the students the chart that you have made listing the components of a retell. (

See below

      Discuss the following:

        Beginning – What happens first in the story?


        Middle – What happens in-between?


      End – What happens last in the story?


      “As I read this story, think about what is happening so you can retell it during writing.”
    After reading the story, show the students the writing paper they are going to be using. Demonstrate how they are to write the beginning, middle and end. Once they write their retell, they may illustrate it. Then have one student repeat the assignment to the class. In addition, also have the directions written out on chart paper.

Independent Work:

      Students will be sent back to their seats to work independently on their retells. During this time, walk around the room observing the students progress. If a student is having a difficult time remembering the story, use some of the prompts below to help them.

Who came to visit?

Where do they live?

What did they bring with them?

What time of day did they leave at?

Did they travel far?

What time of year was it?


What happened when the relatives arrived?

What did they do during their stay?

Where they happy? How could you tell?

Did they stay long?


Where did the relatives go?

Did it take them a long time to get home?

What did they see on their way home?

What did they do when they got home?

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