Retelling familiar stories with story maps

Resources needed:

Copy of The Gruffalo (or other familiar tale)

Card, lolly sticks, large sheets of sugar paper, crayons, tape.

  1. Introduce the story and ask the children who knows it. Can they tell you any of the characters? Do they know what happens first? What happens at the end? Who is the smartest character? How does the mouse trick the Gruffalo? Why was the mouse very brave?

Read the story to the children, encouraging them to participate with the repeated phrases.

  1. Now ask the children to work in groups to make puppets from the story.

You may need to help young children to organise themselves so that each person makes a different character. If they are reluctant to draw, perhaps they could instead use some copies of the characters from the book.

  1. Let the children retell the story in their own way (they may miss out some elements!)
  2. Ask each group of children to act out a different part of the story from beginning to end.
  3. Give each group the large sheet of paper and show them how to draw a winding line from the top corner to the bottom. Ask the children to draw a scene from the story, starting at the beginning and including all the key elements of the story.


Further activity:

Make further props from the story (Gruffalo crumble – brown paint sprinkled with porridge oats on a paper plate; scrambled snake – string dipped in green paint/white glue and arranged on a paper plate)

Look online for colouring sheets, puzzles and other printable resources connected to the story.

Make a zigzag book to retell the story.

‘Hot Seat’ one of the characters (ask a child to sit at the front and take on the role of the mouse, the Gruffalo or another character and the other children then have an opportunity to ask questions about what happened and why the character did certain things)


Curriculum Areas covered:

Spoken language – years 1 to 6

  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising,
  • imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates

Y1 Program of study: they will need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary

Pupils should have extensive experience of listening to, sharing and discussing a wide range of high-quality books with the teacher, other adults and each other to engender a love of reading at the same time as they are reading independently.

Pupils should be taught to:

Develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

  • listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • being encouraged to link what they read or hear read to their own experiences
  • becoming very familiar with key stories, fairy stories and traditional tales,
  • retelling them and considering their particular characteristics
  • recognising and joining in with predictable phrases
  • learning to appreciate rhymes and poems, and to recite some by heart
  • discussing word meanings, linking new meanings to those already known

Understand both the books they can already read accurately and fluently and those they listen to by:

  • Drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher
  • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting
  • inaccurate reading
  • discussing the significance of the title and events
  • making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done
  • predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far

Participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say

Explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them