University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Five Finger Retelling

LEADERS Handbook of Early Literacy Strategies and Activities

Time: 5-10 minutes
Group Style: Individual
Grade Level: 1-3

Strategy / Activity

(One question per finger)
  1. Who was the story about?
  2. Where did it take place?
  3. What happened at the beginning?
  4. What happened in the middle?
  5. What happened at the end of the story?


This strategy is a helpful reminder for students when they are asked to retell a story. By using this strategy, they can be sure to include the five major elements.


  • Poster board or oak tag paper
  • Marker


  1. Introduce the 5 finger strategy and model it many times with the class.
  2. Display a poster of the hand prominently in your classroom. One question should be written on each digit of the hand.
  3. Provide a mini-version for each student.

Teacher Comments

  • Share this idea with parents, so that it can be used at home.
  • You may want to send a photocopied version home with each child.
  • Writing on band-aids is really cute!