The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 65

his retelling is full of details, his language makes sense and has a flow, he has an obvious sense of what the book is about, and usually, his pleasure is evident” (p. 103).

In my class, I pick a story that we read several times throughout our theme unit. For example, we made a class story map for the book, The Mitten by Jan Brett. We did many activities throughout our readings of the story that addressed making predictions, making connections to personal experience, and filling out our story map. During one reading we added pictures to depict the setting and characters in the story to the story map. Subsequent readings included adding pictures to depict the beginning, middle, and end. The class map was used in a center where students could take turns retelling the story to one another. The same pictures were sent home in a retelling bag for students to use at home to retell the story to their family.

Since incorporating this activity in my classroom, I have seen marked improvement in my students’ ability to retell a story. They are paying closer attention to the parts of the story that are important which increases the level of comprehension that takes place. I hear them during read-alouds spontaneously interject who the main character is and what the problem is: “Oh! He is the main character!” and “Uh-oh! That is the problem, Mrs. Amanda!” By giving early learners a visual picture and text map to the story, their ability to practice retelling is significantly improved, thereby aiding their young brains in comprehension development.


Beauchat, K.A., Blamey, K.L, & Philippakos, Z. A. (2012). Effective read-alouds for early literacy: A teacher’s guide for PreK-1. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Gunning, T. M. (2014). Accessing and correcting reading and writing difficulties: A student-centered approach. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Morrow, L.M. (2007). Developing literacy in preschool. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Pinnell, G.S. & Fountas, I.C. (2011). Literacy beginnings: A prekindergarten handbook. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Routman, R. (2003). Reading Essentials: The specifics you need to teach really well .Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Stauffer, R.G. (1969). Directing reading maturity as a cognitive process. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Amanda Barr teaches preschool for the Willard, MO public school district. She is currently completing her master's degree in the Graduate Literacy program at Missouri State University.

Morrow (2007), “... Learning to comprehend should be an active process when preschoolers listen to stories” (p. 147).

Story Maps and Comprehension Development in Preschool

By: Amanda Barr

Marlow Barton