K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

After hearing the story The Legend of the Blue Bonnet by Tomie dePaola, students should be able to create their own version of the story by retelling. Students should be familiar with what a retelling is and the elements of a story that are required to create a successful retelling.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

6 to 10 days


  • copy of The Legend of the Blue Bonnet by Tomie dePaola
  • construction paper
  • crayons or markers

Technology resources

Computer with a word processing program such as Student Writing Center, Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Works


Students need to be familiar with a retelling and the elements that make a retelling successful. They should understand the importance of main characters, setting, problems and solutions, important events, and sequence of events in a story. Students should also be able to compare literature to other literature sources and/or make connections to previous experiences.


  1. Students will listen to the teacher read aloud the story The Legend of the Blue Bonnet.
  2. During the reading of the story, the teacher will discuss the story and what is happening and check for understanding.
  3. After the read aloud, the teacher will ask questions about the important elements of a retelling:
    • Who was the main character?
    • What was the setting of the story?
    • Was there a problem in the story?
    • What happened first?
    • What happened in the middle of the story?
    • How was the problem in the story solved?
    • What happened last?
    • Does this story remind you of another story you have read?
  4. Students should then be put in groups of three or four to begin creating their own version of the story.
  5. Each group should create a rough draft of the story they are creating. One student should be assigned the role of scribe and write the rough draft. After the rough draft is completed, students should edit and revise and seek help from the teacher. This process may take several class periods.
  6. After completing a rough draft, students will work to create type-written versions of their story. This activity can be completed in the classroom or in the computer lab. Each student will select one or two pages to be responsible for typing and print a copy for each member of the group.
  7. Since illustrations will be added by hand to each page, each student needs to hit the return key to reach the middle of the page before typing.
  8. Once typing has been completed and edited, each student should print his/her page and additional copies for each member of the group.
  9. The group then gathers again to arrange the story in sequential order.
  10. After sequencing the story, students put the book together and create a cover using construction paper.
  11. Students illustrate each individual page.
  12. Completed versions of the story are then shared with the class. Class discussion can then be lead in the direction of how each retelling was different and discuss why?


In assessing this activity, the teacher should be able to see the elements of a retelling in the printed stories. Sequencing of the story can be assessed by noticing that the story has been put together in the correct order. By using the K-2 Literacy Assessment that is provided by the state, and using the rubric that is provided for retellings, the teacher will be able to score the retelling of the story. The final printed copy of the retelling will serve as an assessment tool. This printed copy will serve to provide evidence that the student has been able to retrieve, edit and print their final copy of the story.

Supplemental information

For those students who have specially designed instruction, this activity can be used and modified in the following way; students can orally retell the story to a teacher or assistant who then types the story for the child. This will still show the ability to retell and sequence events of a story. For those students have difficulty with fine motor skills this will eliminate frustration and still provide the same outcome.


This activity can be used during an author study of Tomie dePaola. This activity can also be used to compare and contrast other stories created by Tomie dePaola. This story could be used during a unit on Native Americans and a study of those Indians who lived on the Plains of the mid-west and the hardships they endured.

I have used this lesson several times and found it to a successful way to assess the ability of my students to retell a story. Students enjoy having their own version of the book to take home and share with parents, and also enjoy seeing the different ways their classmates have retold the story.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 2
          • 2.RL.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
          • 2.RL.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
          • 2.RL.5 Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
        • Speaking & Listening

          • 2.SL.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
        • Writing

          • 2.W.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
          • 2.W.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.06: Recall main ideas, facts and details from a text.
  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.04: Increase oral and written vocabulary by listening, discussing, and composing texts when responding to literature that is read and heard. (e.g., read aloud by teacher, literature circles, interest groups, book clubs).
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.06: Plan and make judgments about what to include in written products (e.g., narratives of personal experiences, creative stories, skits based on familiar stories and/or experiences).
    • Objective 4.07: Compose first drafts using an appropriate writing process:
      • planning and drafting.
      • rereading for meaning.
      • revising to clarify and refine writing with guided discussion.
    • Objective 4.08: Write structured, informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization.
    • Objective 4.09: Use media and technology to enhance the presentation of information to an audience for a specific purpose.