Supporting re-telling skills – the benefits of talking about your day

Talking with children is important because it builds their language and communication skills. By creating opportunities for your child to retell stories you can boost your child’s understanding of how stories work. This is a great way to build their listening comprehension (listening and understanding), early literacy, vocabulary and help them to put sentences together correctly and use correct grammar. Research shows that supporting the re-telling of personal experiences is an important tool in language development (Saunders & Goldenberg, 1999).

When you go on an outing with your child take a few photos of what’s happening around you. For example, during a trip to the farm, take photos as your child feeds the animals, goes on a ride, or eats lunch. Later, look at the photos together and use them to help guide your child to retell what happened at the farm. By placing the pictures in an order, like a story, you can teach your child about the sequence of events and words they can use to help them retell stories, such as the words ‘first’, ‘next’, and ‘last’. This activity can also help your child to use joining words in their sentences like ‘and’ and ‘because’ and use specific vocabulary related to the event. You could create your own personalised book in this similar manner, which is another idea to support your child’s language development at home in a fun and personal way.

Each day when you get home, ask your child, “How was your day?”. Help them get started by giving them some ideas and sentence starters such as: “Today at school I learned…”, “At recess I …”, “For lunch I ate…”, “My favourite thing about today was….”

Do the same task by re-tellig your own day so your child hears a model. This routine not only helps your child get better at talking, listening, and understanding, but also creates a nice way for both of you to share your day.


Dockrell J.E, Morag Stuart M., King D. Supporting Early Oral Language Skills for English Language Learners in Inner city Preschool provision Downloaded 4/4/18.

Huttenlocher, J., Vasilyeva, M., Cymerman, E., & Levine, S. C. (2002). Language input at home and at school: Relation to syntax. Cognitive Psychology, 45, 337-374.

Saunders, W. M., & Goldenberg, C. (1999). Effects of instructional conversations and literature logs on limited- and fluent-English-proficient students‟ story 34 comprehension and thematic understanding. Elementary School Journal, 99(4), 277-301.


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