Update: Now this post includes 5 more books for teaching story sequencing and retelling, for a total of 15.
Today I’m excited to explore with you 10 favorite books for teaching story sequencing and story retelling. I’ve focused on titles that are just right for kindergarten. These will also get a lot of love in preschool and first grade.
Why Teach Story Sequencing?
As you may know, story sequencing is a crucial skill for our little ones to grasp. Literal understanding of a text is the foundation they need to become independent, active readers later on!
That’s why in most states you’ll find sequencing or retelling “with prompting and support” listed in the kindergarten reading curriculum.
Even before you teach “beginning, middle, end”, you can help kids retell a story you’ve read to them.
Teachers and children love the story sequencing hats in my store for working on this skill. Sending the children home in their adorable hats also helps them work on verbal skills as they explain their hats to their families.
So I’ll also be showing you the hats I have that go along with many of these sequencing book selections. Like this one:
(Disclosure: Books and Giggles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.)
Books for Story Sequencing and Retelling
Each of these books has a predictable or easy to follow structure that will help children remember what’s next.
This classic board book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle can be used for more than just story sequencing. It’s also a repetitive rhyming book that’s sure to help increase students’ awareness of phonemes and word suffixes.
Plus, it reaffirms color and animal knowledge – and it’s fun to talk about the fact that horses aren’t really blue, and cats are never purple!
Believe it or not, you can even sing this story to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” .. how’s that for a fun musical element!
Joy Cowley is a much-loved author for beginner readers, and Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm is no exception.
Students love the book’s comedic nature, rhyming, and easy-to-follow along patterning as they watch each animal in the farm get bathed, find trouble, and get squeaky clean all over again.
Additionally, the repetitive “W” sounds in “Wishy Washy” are great for an in-depth letter study!
Plus, I have a hat for this one too:
With a friendly witch and a slightly scary dragon, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom is a great pick for a Halloween book!
The vibrant illustrations, rhyming, and animal crew of characters trying to fit on the witch’s broom are sure to keep your kindergartners’ attention.
Here’s my sequencing crown for it:
The classic version of this story by Karen Schmidt is great for story sequencing because it follows a logical sequence of events: from the boy baking a cookie, to the cookie escaping the oven, and of course, inevitably encountering plenty of funny friends along the way.
This is a great mid to end of year kindergarten read-aloud selection as it doesn’t have a predictable rhyming pattern outside of the classic chant that your kids will love to read along with you:
“Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread man!”
…and you guessed it – here’s a printable sequencing hat that goes with several different versions of the story:
5. The Mitten
Jan Brett’s The Mitten is a beloved classic. The detailed illustrations allow for rich picture analysis, and it introduces children to a collection of new animals who pass the mitten around.
Plus, many of the animals go outside of the classic farm creatures your kids likely already know, introducing them to some new vocabulary like: mole, hedgehog, and fox.
Here’s the printable hat activity I made for it:
This Caldecott honored text by Simms Taback will definitely keep your students’ attention!
With a hilarious plotline, illustrations, and page cut-outs, they’ll all be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next: aka what the old lady swallows next!
Even better, this book can be sung – check it out for yourself on YouTube!
Want printable crowns for this story? I love how cute these look with cotton glued on for the old lady’s hair!
Audrey and Don Wood’s The Napping House is a great book not just for sequencing, but also for identifying patterning in texts and making text-to-self connections.
Readers will get an inside look into the Napping House, where first a granny, then a child, then a dog, a cat, and more keep falling asleep on top of one another until humorous chaos awakes them.
No list of books about story sequencing would be complete without The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Odds are, whether you’re a parent or educator, you’ve heard of this timeless book by Eric Carle.
Kids love the vibrant illustrations, and to keep track of just how much the caterpillar eats each day of the week.
More than just sequencing, though, this book is a great overview of counting, numbers, days of the week, and the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly!
Another classic loved by kids and adults alike is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff. The progression of this story is logical yet hysterical all at once- ensuring your students will stay engaged while also honing their skills for story sequencing.
It’s also the perfect choice for talking about cause and effect. You could even have fun and have students help you write your own class book modeled after this story!
RELATED: You may also like this crafty and playful If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Activity that we made a few years back. My kids lo-o-o-ved it!
I also now have a story hat for working through this much-loved book and several others in the same series.
10. Ox-Cart Man
Next, we continue our story sequencing list with Ox-Cart Man, a Caldecott Medal Winner, by Donald Hall. Kids will love keeping track of everything the farmer’s family packs in their cart, while also grasping new vocabulary like “shearing” and “wool.”
I love using this book to teach about seasons and farming too.
RELATED – DIY Storytelling Basket for Ox-Cart Man
11. Bear Snores On
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman is an autumn and winter favorite. This cumulative story is about animal friends visiting, and finally waking, a hibernating bear. Children can recount how each of the critters arrives and then retell the funny ending.
Yes, there’s a sequencing hat for Bear Snores On too!
12. Turkey Trouble
Wendi Silvano’s popular story has children disguising a turkey in classrooms across America. In the book, Turkey tries to blend in with a series of other animals in an attempt to avoid the farmer’s Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s a fun choice for teaching students about making predictions as well as story retelling.
Stellaluna has a more involved storyline with distinct sections and a clear plot. It is an excellent book for more advanced students to retell and sequence. Plus, the content integrates well with life science and character education lessons.
This hilarious, adorable story is perfect for wintertime sequencing lessons. Sneezy the Snowman is cold, and so he tries to warm up with hot chocolate, a campfire, and even a hot tub. Of course, he melts each time, but the children re-build him. You can teach cause and effect as well as sequencing with this fun book.
15. The Gruffalo
Finally, Julia Donaldson’s book The Gruffalo works really well as a story sequencing text. It also has a distinct beginning, middle, and end for students who are ready to do a little summarizing.
Want a Printable Book List?
If you want a book list you can print out for your files or teacher binder, you’re in luck! I send them out for free to newsletter subscribers! Just click the image-link below and sign up. You’ll get lots more free printables, flash sale notices, fresh resources, and more.
Story Sequencing Crowns Bundle
Some teachers have set up story sequencing as a literacy center. I think that’s such a fun idea! If you want, you can purchase all my printable story sequencing hats in one discounted bundle.
FYI, I’ve been adding sets to this from time to time, and so if you buy it be sure to check back to see if there’s an update for you to download for free.
I hope you enjoyed these story sequencing book suggestions! If you’ve used any of these books to teach a lesson on story sequencing, or have any other suggestions for texts to use, let us know in the comments below.