I told students they were going to learn how to tell someone about a story by telling them the most important parts versus telling them the entire story word-for-word or everything single thing that happened. I demonstrated the difference by retelling the entire story of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes. Then I told the short-and-sweet version with just the story elements.
Students were given a simple graphic organizer to complete. (Copy first page from link below.*) The organizer was copied on both sides of the paper. I guided students through filling out the organizer for the story on a document camera. I explicitly discussed each part of the organizer as I wrote. I emphasized writing words or phrases on the organizer which we would turn into sentences later. After each section was filled in, I modeled using the information to write a summary statement which can be used to recount a story.
*The FCRR graphic organizer has 3 sections, so I had students add an extra bubble for the setting.
I placed students in groups of two. This facilitated communication with a peer and the sharing of ideas. They worked to complete the graphic organizer on the other side of the sheet using a story they had read before. (Student choice.) I did this so that students could focus on the skill versus of decoding and comprehension. While students worked, I circulated around the room providing assistance as needed.
I assessed students real-time. I circulated as they were working to check for understanding. If they having trouble, I pulled them into a small group to reteach story elements. I used the questioning strategy to help them identify problem and solution, the elements students are most likely to miss. I asked a combination of the following questions: What was the problem of the main character? What are they trying to do? What do they want? What are they trying to accomplish? How do they try to solve the problem? How is the problem solved? How does this solve the problem?
As they answered the questions to identify the problem and solution, they wrote it in the appropriate section of the graphic organizer.