The best books for Teaching sequencing and retelling

Recently on my blog, I discussed the importance of teaching sequencing with teaching tips and activity ideas. One of my tips for teaching sequencing was to practice with simple texts. Texts that have a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

Today, I wanted to share 16 of my favorite books for teaching sequencing. When making this list, I tried to have a balance between relatively newer books and some classics that will most likely be in your school library. 

Missing from this list are Jan Brett (The Mitten) and Laura Numeroff (If You Give…) as their books are among the first that come to mind when thinking about sequencing books. You are most likely using these books for your sequencing lessons already as they are fantastic. I have a Sequencing and Story Retell Pack for Laura Numeroff Books in my shop. Some of Jan Brett’s books, as well as many listed below, are included in my Sequencing and Story Retell Pop-ups and Pocket Chart Cards BUNDLE. I’ll have a free sample at the end of the post!

Here are some of my favorite books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

PICTURE BOOKS for Teaching Sequencing

 *You can click on any title to purchase the books via Amazon. These are affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage if you purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. I always only recommend resources I love!

Click here to view all of the book lists in my Amazon storefront.

THE STRAY DOG BY MARC SIMONT

This is a great book for sequencing! In the story a boy and girl encounter a stray dog at the park. They return later to try to find him, but someone else is looking for him. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

A family encounters a stray dog while on a picnic and spends the afternoon playing with him. They say goodbye to the dog but can’t stop thinking about him throughout the week. When they go back to get him someone else is looking for him too!

The cover is also perfect for asking the students to make predictions before reading.

THE NAPPING HOUSE BY AUDREY WOOD

This book is perfect for sequencing in Kindergarten and First Grade. The students can retell the order in which everyone fell asleep in The Napping House. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

I can so relate to this book because rainy weather makes me sooooo sleepy! In this book, everyone slowly falls asleep on a rainy day. The repetition of the story makes it a great sequencing book for younger students. Students can practice sequencing the order in which everyone falls asleep. It also ends in a way students surely won’t forget! 

This book is also great to have on hand if you are teaching parts of speech. Every noun has an adjective to describe it (napping house, dreaming child, snoring granny).

*Included in my Story Pop-ups Bundle

THE LITTLE HOUSE BY VIRGINIA LEE BURTON

This book is a must-have for retelling in lower elementary. In the story the little house watches as her country setting is slowly transformed into a city. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This book is a must-have for lower elementary. In the story, a personified house watches as her country setting slowly transforms into a city. Fortunately for the little house, a relative of her builder spots her in the city and has her taken back to a country setting.

While the story itself is simple, there is a lot packed into it. We get to see the house experience day and night with the different moon phases. We also get to see the four changing seasons in the country. 

Extension:

After sequencing the story the students can also compare and contrast life in the country vs. life in the city. 

THE CARROT SEED BY RUTH KRAUSS

Not only is this book perfect for sequencing it is also great for growth mindset. The story focuses on a little boy who plants a carrot seed and it optimistic about it's growth. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This book is a classic that hasn’t been out of print since it was first published in 1945!

The story focuses on a little boy who plants a carrot seed. Everyone keeps telling him that it won’t come up, but the little boy just knows it will.

While this simple story is perfect for sequencing, it can also lead to a discussion on patience and working towards a goal.

SPRING IS HERE BY WILL HILLENBRAND

Students can retell all the different ways Mole tries to wake up Bear in this cute story. If students have discussed hibernation they might be able to predict how Mole finally wakes up Bear. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

Spring is here and Mole is awake, but Bear is not. Throughout the story, Mole tries different ways to wake up Bear with no luck. Until he gets a great idea that is! If students have discussed hibernation, they might be able to predict how Mole will get Bear to wake up.

To make the read-aloud more interactive and engaging you could assign hand movements for the repetitive verbs.

THE SANDWICH SWAP BY QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH

This fun read uses favorite foods as a way to discuss cultural differences. It's also a great story for Kindergarten and First Grade students to practice sequencing. Who could forget a food fight scene? Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

It’s not every day students will get to read a book written by a Queen!

This story is about best friends Lily and Salma who come from different backgrounds. Every day, Lily eats a peanut butter sandwich while Salma eats a hummus sandwich. The girls start to judge what the other is eating and this leads to an argument.

Soon the whole school is taking sides and the story peaks when a food fight breaks out in the cafeteria! 


Extension:

Students can draw a picture of their favorite food. They can either label their picture or write a sentence depending on the grade level. This would also be great for a How-to writing piece– kids can write a recipe for how to make their favorite food!

THE SECRET SHORTCUT BY MARK TEAGUE

Kindergarten and 1st grade students will have fun retelling Wendell and Floyd's adventurous short cut they take on their way to school. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This is a fun imaginative story that students will love! Wendell and Floyd never seem to make it to school on time so one day they decide to take a secret shortcut. Unfortunately for the boys, the shortcut leads them to a wild jungle with crocodiles, monkeys, and quicksand!

Students will have fun sequencing the boys’ new route to school. While being a fun read, the story also has some great vocabulary words to introduce to students.

RABBIT’S GIFT BY GEORGE SHANNON

This story is based on a Chinese Fable. While it's great for sequencing and retelling, it also promotes generosity for lower elementary students. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

Fables and Fairy Tales are perfect for sequencing and this story is no exception! Rabbit’s Gift is based on a Chinese fable.

Rabbit knows that winter is coming soon so he sets out in search of food. When he finds more than he needs he decides to share with a friend. Rabbit’s Gift (a turnip) is passed from one friend to another until it finds its way back to Rabbit.

*Included in my Story Pop-ups Bundle

Room on the broom BY Julia Donaldson

I love using books that have a clear beginning, middle, and end when teaching sequencing, like Room on the Broom! Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This is such a fun story and a must-have for your classroom library! Like the title suggests this is a rhyming book, but it’s also great to use for sequencing. The main character is a witch with a very tall hat and a cat. She is traveling on a very windy day and keeps losing things. Everytime she stops to find her lost item, she meets a new friend who asks, “Is there room on the broom?”. Soon the witch and all her new friends meet a very hungry dragon!

Students can practice sequencing the friends the witch makes as well as the items she lost.

While the main character is a witch, Halloween is not mentioned at all. It absolutely can be read year-round.

And I have great news for you, I’ve made a FREE Story Pop-ups pack for this book! You get a full set of color cards, plus 3 versions of the student printable, PLUS a bonus printable set for Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! in your freebie.

Sign up below and get them delivered right to your inbox!

CORDUROY BY DON FREEMAN

This is a great classic that you will likely find in your school library. The plot focuses on a teddy bear's search for a button and a little girl who wants to buy him. The text is simple enough for students to retell in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This is another great classic that you will most likely find in your school library. Classic stories make great books for teaching sequencing and retelling since many students are familiar with them.

Corduroy is a teddy bear in need of an owner and one day a little girl named Lisa asks her mother if she can buy Corduroy. Her mother says she doesn’t want to spend more money and besides Corduroy is missing a button. Students then get to see Corduroy explore the store at night in search for a button. The story ends on a happy note as Lisa returns the next day with money from her piggy bank. 

Extension:

You can find connect the dot activity worksheets on the Corduroy website. These will help to relate sequencing to the everyday activity of counting! You could use these as morning work or as a center activity.

I HAD A FAVORITE DRESS BY BONI ASBURN

This is an adorable story that students will be able to! We trace a young girls favorite dress as it's transformed into new items. Students can sequence the journey of the dress. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This is an adorable story that most students will be able to relate too! The narrator tells the story of her favorite dress that she wears every Tuesday. When she outgrows it she asks her Mother to recycle it into a new garment. We trace the fabric from dress to shirt, from tank top to skirt, from scarf to sock, until there’s nothing left to sew.

This is one of my favorite books for teaching sequencing because it is structured around the days of the week as well as showing the changing seasons.

*Included in my Story Pop-ups Bundle

THE SNOWY DAY BY EZRA JACK KEATS

The Snowy Day is a beloved classic and perfect for sequencing! Students will be able to relate to the activities that Peter does on a snow day. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

In this well loved classic we get to spend a snowy day with Peter as he explores his neighborhood. The book also has an animated version that your students can watch free on Youtube after the initial reading.

*Included in my Story Pop-ups Bundle

GOLDILOCKS AND JUST ONE BEAR BY LEIGH HODGKINSON

This is a follow up to the classic, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Baby Bear is all grown up and has wandered into the city. He finds his way into an apartment where he looks for food and a nice rest. If both versions are read, students can also compare and contrast these two stories. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This humorous tale is a sequel to the well-known fairy-tale, Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Baby Bear is all grown up and has wandered into the city. He finds his way into an apartment where he looks for food and a nice rest. He is awakened by a family and the mother looks vaguely familiar!

Extension:

Read a traditional version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and practice sequencing the story. Once you’ve read and practice sequencing this version students can compare and contrast the two books.

THE RECESS QUEEN BY ALEXIS O’NEILL

This is a great book to add to your collection if you teach Kindergarten or First Grade. Not only is the story perfect for sequencing, but you can also use it at the beginning of the year for discussing recess rules and how to treat others. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

Mean Jean is known as the Recess Queen as she bosses the other students around. Everything changes when Katie Sue, a teeny tiny new student, doesn’t follow Mean Jean’s rules and instead asks her to play. This is a great book to add to your collection!

Not only is the story perfect for sequencing, but you can also use it at the beginning of the year for discussing recess rules and how to treat others.

If you teach power and authority for Social Studies, it makes for a great starting point for discussing who has authority.

STELLALUNA BY JANELL CANNON

This story is perfect for sequencing as it almost takes on a circular nature.  Stellaluna is a baby bat who gets separated from his mother and ends up in a nest with baby birds. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This is a book I bet you already have in your classroom! While it is a great text to discuss animal behaviors, it’s also a perfect story for sequencing.

In the story a fruit bat, Stellaluna, gets separated from her mother and ends up in a nest of young birds. Stellaluna tries her best to fit and act like a bird. The story repeats as Stellaluna gets separated from the birds and finds her mother at the end!

CHALK BY BILL THOMSON

This book is a wordless picture book about three children who find some magic chalk! The simple story is perfect for sequencing or retelling. Students can write text for the story in a whole-group activity. Read this post for more great books for teaching sequencing and retelling!

This book is unique as it is wordless! These make great books for teaching sequencing and retelling, as kids have to use their own words to tell the story. The illustrations show three children who find some magic chalk on a rainy day. What the children draw with the chalk appears to come to life. One of the girls draws a sun that floats into the sky and clears up the rain. At the climax of the story, the boy draws a dinosaur that comes to life and chases the children! Some quick thinking saves the day and washes the chalk away.

*Included in my Story Pop-ups Bundle

Extension:

Use the story as inspiration for your own class book! Have each student write and illustrate what they would draw if they had magic chalk. 

The book could also be used for a whole-group writing activity. Students can work together to write a sentence for pages in the story.

IN CONCLUSION. . .

I hope you found some new books for teaching sequencing in your classroom! What other books do you know? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know below!

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