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Retelling the African Folktale Abiyoyo

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 2


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


Students will learn about retelling and performing stories from other cultures.


  • Abiyoyo (listening tape optional)
  • 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 animals)
  • Name tags (you may want to have the kids draw illustrations of each character instead of labeling them)
  • String

Additional Resources


  • Abiyoyo, by Pete Seegar;
    ISBN 590-42720-2
  • Anansi the Spider, by Gerald McDermott;
    ISBN 0590-47340-9
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, by Tomi dePaola;
    ISBN 0-590-44706-8
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears, by Verna Aardema;
    ISBN 0-590-10294-x
  • Tikki Tikii Tembo, by Arlene Mosel;
    ISBN 0-8050-0662-1
  • Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa, by Gerald McDermott;
    ISBN 0152010106
Web Sites:

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.

Instructional Procedures

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.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Tell students they are going to be actress and actors today as they help you retell the story of Abiyoyo.
  2. Read Abiyoyo or listen to the tape.
  3. Discuss and identify the main characters of the story and write them on name tags for the actors/actresses to wear.
  4. As a class, gather the props or make the scenery you want to use for the retelling.
  5. 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.
  6. Arrange room as you see fit and pass out props to students.
  7. 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 students.)



  • 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 town.
  • Make a storyboard of Abiyoyo to share with others by drawing illustrations for the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
  • Working in cooperative groups, have students create a group storyboard by illustrating the beginning, middle, and end of other stories.
  • Make a picture map of the town and its surrounding area where Abiyoyo lived.
Family Connections
  • 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 family members.
  • 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.

Assessment Plan

  • 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 writers notebook.
  • Draw illustrations of the main characters in the story.


Research Basis

Rimaly, B.K.; (1999) Increasing the Literacy Growth of Kindergarten Students through 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 enhances learning.

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 child’s storytelling.

Created: 08/17/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018