The most important thing about reading is comprehension. Readers should always be thinking about the story as they are reading, and what the author is trying to say to them. Sometimes it is tough for kids to explain or retell what happened in a story. Teachers work on some great strategies to help students retell stories. Strategies like "Somebody Wanted But So" help kids organize a fiction story into a way that makes sense: the "somebody" is a character, they "want" something, "but" something got in the way (the problem), "so..." they do something to overcome the problem (the solution.)
For the past few days my class in summer school, second graders becoming third graders, looked at a just right story really deeply. We broke it down, found the characters, and did our "SWBS" retell. For our final activity we turned the book into a play. We worked as a group to create a script. We had to sequence the story and add details that may not have been clear in the story. After we had created our script, we got together with smaller groups of actors, and we did a few read throughs. Finally we created a Puppet Pals movie of our adapted play. I was confident that anyone in my class could retell the story they read with exceptional detail and understanding.
If you haven't used Puppet Pals in the past, it is a great tool for kids to retell stories and create their own. It comes with a few stock puppets, but students can snap a picture and use it as a puppet just as easily. It is a free app available on the App Store. Using Puppet Pals to reinforce comprehension is an excellent example of technology integration that truly enhances learning.
Instructional Technology Coach