A child's hand is open with his fingers spread. Using the 5-Finger-Retell strategy is great for building reading comprehension skills.

5 Finger Retelling to Strengthen Reading Comprehension Skills

At 6 years of age, your child is likely working on reading comprehension strategies in school. To help support your little one's progress, employ the 5 Finger Retell whenever you read your daily story at home. Due to the visual nature of this activity, it's something your child can remember easily, can take with them wherever they go, and with regular practice, they'll be able to efficiently summarize stories in no time!

How to Use the 5 Finger Retell Strategy

After reading your story, pull out your fiver fingers and start with the thumb. Each finger represents an aspect of the story.

  1. Thumb - Use this finger to represent characters. Put up your thumb and ask, "Who were the characters in the story?"
  2. Pointer Finger - This finger represents the setting. Put up your pointer finger and ask, "Where did the story take place?"
  3. Middle, Ring, & Pinkie Fingers - The next 3 fingers represent events in the story. Pointing to each finger one at a time, ask your child to recall an event in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
  4. Palm - This portion of the hand will represent how the story made you feel or a personal connection with the story. You can point to your palm and ask, "How did the story make you feel?" or, "Did this story remind you of anything?" For example, if the story was Little Red Riding Hood your child may make a connection to their personal life like, "It reminded me of when Grandma was sick and we brought her soup."

How This Method Helps

By practicing this simple exercise at home, your child will become accustomed to looking at their hand as a reminder when they need to recall story details in the future, like in the classroom. This skill lays down the foundation for great reading comprehension that will serve them well in the future. From here, they can work on summarizing, listing events in chronological order, and drawing inferences. When you first begin using this method, use your own hand as a model and have them follow along with you. After several practices, they should be able to employ this method independently. Don't forget to shower them with tons of praise when they do it all on their own!

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