Students will learn about retelling and performing stories from other cultures.
- Abiyoyo (listening tape
- Props: ukulele, hat
(optional), magic wand,
drinking cup, chair, saw
and block of wood, sun
made of red paper,
finger nails, sheep and
cow (puppets or stuffed
- Name tags (you may
want to have the kids
draw illustrations of
each character instead
of labeling them)
- Abiyoyo, by Pete Seegar;
- Anansi the Spider, by Gerald McDermott;
- The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, by Tomi dePaola;
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears, by Verna Aardema;
- Tikki Tikii Tembo, by Arlene Mosel;
- Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa, by Gerald
Background for Teachers
This activity focuses on retelling and performing a story from a
different culture. When retelling a story to someone else, it is important
to have the sequence and all parts to the story in correct order. The
beginning of a story generally tells who the characters in the story are
and what the problems may be. The middle generally explains what
attempts were made to solve the problems, and the end generally has the
solution to the problems or what the results may be and how the story
ends. For this activity, students should be familiar with the story so that
they can easily retell it as they role play the characters. As you are
preparing to retell/role play the story, you will need to discuss the main
characters the students will be portraying and decide what simple props,
if any, may be helpful in telling the story.
The foreword of Abiyoyo talks about the art of taking a story and
making it your own as you retell it. You may want to read the foreword
and decide what parts, if any, you want to share with your students.
Intended Learning Outcomes
2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Come to class dressed as a character from a familiar story or nursery
rhyme. Read a story about your character and invite students to play
along with you and pretend to be other characters.
- Tell students they are going to be actress and actors today as they
help you retell the story of Abiyoyo.
- Read Abiyoyo or listen to the tape.
- Discuss and identify the main characters of the story and write
them on name tags for the actors/actresses to wear.
- As a class, gather the props or make the scenery you want to use
for the retelling.
- Assign each student a part in the retelling/role playing. Everyone
should have a role, either as characters or prop helpers.
Characters/prop helpers: father, son, person drinking water, person
sitting on chair, person sawing wood, big red sun (optional),
Abiyoyo, cow, sheep, and the remaining students as townspeople.
- Arrange room as you see fit and pass out props to students.
- Retell/role play the characters and actions of the story as
teacher/student retells the story using the book as a guide.
Optional--Videotape the students role playing the story to watch
as a class at a later time. (Check district policy on videotaping
- Allow students to use instruments to keep a beat and rhythm as
you sing the song, Abiyoyo, found in the back of the book.
- Use skills as a creative dancer and move like you think Abiyoyo
did in the story.
- Add a second verse to the song. Make up words that could
describe Abiyoyo or how the townspeople felt as he was coming
over the mountain.
- In your writer's notebook, draw an illustration of Abiyoyo and
what you think the faces of the townspeople looked like when
they first saw him.
- Write about what you would say if you saw Abiyoyo in your
- Make a storyboard of Abiyoyo to share with others by drawing
illustrations for the beginning, the middle, and the end of the
- Working in cooperative groups, have students create a group
storyboard by illustrating the beginning, middle, and end of other
- Make a picture map of the town and its surrounding area where
- Invite parents to come watch as you retell/role play the story.
- Allow each child to check out Abiyoyo for one night to read with
- Retell/role play another familiar story with family members.
- Make a book at home of other retellings and have parents dictate
your story. Share with the class.
- Videotape your family retelling a story and share it with the class.
- Send home a book with the materials to make a storyboard. Bring
the storyboard back to school and share with the class.
- The father in the story was a magician. Practice a magic trick you
know and share it with your family.
- Observe to see that the whole class is participating in the
retelling/role playing of the story.
- Have students verbally identify the characters in the story.
- Have students help make a list or determine what simple props
would be useful in the telling of the story.
- Write about or illustrate your favorite part of the story in your
- Draw illustrations of the main characters in the story.
Rimaly, B.K.; (1999) Increasing the Literacy Growth of Kindergarten Students
Developmentally Appropriate Emergent Literacy (ERIC–Education Resource
Information Center) ED 436761
Using integrated thematic units that incorporates emergent literacy
instructional strategies like read alouds, story retell using props, shared
reading, acquisition of vocabulary, music, art, and writing activities
Marjanovic-Umek, L., Kranjc, S., Fekonja, U.; (2002) Developmental Levels
of the Child’s
Storytelling. (ERIC Education Resource Information Center) ED468 907
Storytelling skills of children between four and eight years of age can
provide insights into the child’s overall language development. This
study explored the development of children’s storytelling, using story
coherence and story cohesion to evaluate the developmental level of the