Subject: ELA (English Language Arts)

Lesson Length: 1 - 2 hours

Topic: Key Ideas and Details

Grade Level: 1, 2, 3

Standards / Framework:

  • CC.K.R.L.2
  • CC.1.R.L.2
  • CC.2.R.L.2
  • CC.3.R.L.2

Brief Description: Students will be able to retell familiar stories, including key details.

Know Before You Start: Students should be familiar with the basic elements of a story such as character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.


  • Ask students:
    • “What is your favorite story?”
    • “What does it mean to retell a story?”
    • “What elements are important to share when retelling a story to someone else? Why is it important to include them?”


  • Read a story that the class is familiar with, such as a fairy tale or text the class has read together previously.
  • Model for students how to do a “Five Finger Retell” strategy by sharing the story you just read together in class.
  • Talk across your fingers to share about the characters, setting, and three details such as the beginning, middle, and end. Lastly, you would share how the story made them feel or a connection they had. (See The Five Finger Retell video in the Resource Section below for an example).
  • Discuss the importance of sharing the story in their own words from the beginning, middle, and end. Highlight transitional words that can help with retelling such as first, then, next, after that, and finally/lastly. 
  • Have students practice the Five Finger Retell strategy with a partner. They will select a story they are familiar with to practice the strategy.
  • Have students independently create comics that retell a familiar story, which includes key details and basic story elements.


  • Have students share their comics in small groups of students. In those groups, have students practice sharing the Five Finger Retell strategy while showing their comics. At the end, they can include how the story made them feel or a connection they had with the story.
  • Share with students that today they made comics that retold a story they knew well. It is important to be able to retell stories and include key details for others to understand the story.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Consider creating an anchor chart that shows the components of the Five Finger Retell strategy.
  • Provide a graphic organizer, such as The Five Finger Retell, for students to write or draw a plan for their comic.
  • Consider having students provide peer feedback or conference with a teacher for feedback after the planning or drafting phases of the writing process. 
  • Consider providing students with a three-panel comic layout to retell just the beginning, middle, and end.
  • Consider having students use the Five-Finger-Retell Strategy Template to support their comic creation.


Suggested Story Starters: