How to Teach RL.2.2 & RL.3.2: Recount Stories from Diverse Cultures

Recount Folktales & Other Stories

The 2nd grade standard RL.2.2 and 3rd grade standard RL.3.2 both require students to learn how to recount stories from diverse cultures and determine their central message or moral. This standard puts a focus on fables and folktales from diverse cultures. Teaching this standard can be a lot of fun. In this post, I share my strategies for teaching this dynamic standard along with a few resources that I like to use. My process uses various texts and engages the entire classroom. I hope you find it helpful to you and your students.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

So What is RL.2.2 & RL.3.2 All About?

This chart will help you unpack this standard. The key factor for this standard is for students to recall the events from the story and determine the message, moral, or lesson the reader is trying to convey. The standard is pretty dynamic because it requires a bit of explicit recall to recount the story and a bit of inferencing to determine the message, moral, or lesson in the story.

Week 1: Recount Folktales with Mentor Texts

During the lesson portion of this unit, I like to focus on folktales. There are so many wonderful folktales from other cultures that are available as picture books, and students really get engaged with these stories.

It’s a good idea to begin by modeling with mentor texts. I recommend the following picture books, but you can use any of your favorites. I selected these because they represent folktales from a variety of cultures.

Lon PoPo from China

The Legend of the Bluebonnet a Comanche legend from Texas

Rumplestiltskin from Germany

Image showing mentor texts Lon Lon Po, The Legend of Bluebonnet, and Rumpelstiltskin

Modeling the Standard:

  1. Introduce the standard. Review the standard. Discuss the key vocabulary you will focus on during this unit.
  • Folktales: a story spread, usually by word of mouth, from generations in a particular culture
  • Recount: retell
  • Central message, lesson, or moral: what the author wants to teach the reader about life
  1. Display the anchor chart. Show the anchor chart. Explain that when readers read any story, it is important to retell the story to ensure they understand the major events. Readers should then think about the message, lesson or moral that the author wanted to teach the reader.Folktales Anchor Chart describing the elements of a folktale.
  1. What happens if I cannot retell the story? This tells me I am probably not comprehending the text, so I will reread the story or ask for help.
  2. Model the Skill. Select a text to read aloud. Model retelling the story and determining the moral. Be sure to emphasize the culture that the story is coming from. It is helpful to show students the country location on a map or describe a little about the history of the culture.
Image showing sticky note strategy for Mentor Text and Teaching Folktales to 2nd Grade

If you would like the full lesson plans and sticky note questions for Lon PoPo by Ed Young, you can grab my Mentor Standards unit on recounting folktales here. While reading, be sure to model how you stop at various points to monitor comprehension and retell the story.

Guided Practice:

On day two, read a new folktale from a different culture.
  1. Be diverse. It is important to expose students to many stories from different cultures while teaching this standard.
  2. Partner Up. During the read-aloud, have partners practice turning and talking to each other to retell the story.
  3. Open Discussion. In the end, have partner and class discussions about the lesson or moral of the story. If students are having difficulty determining the lesson, ask them some leading questions, like “What did the main character learn?” or “What do you think the author wants you to learn about life?”
On day three, read another folktale.
  1. Work in Groups. Have partners or groups work together to do a writing activity to retell the story and determine the lesson or moral.
Sticky Chart showing an activity from the Recount Folktales resource

Independent Practice:

  1. Once students have ample time to watch you model and practice in partners, have students practice retelling a story and determining the lesson or moral in their independent reading journals. They can use a graphic organizer to organize their thoughts, or sticky note forms I have in my unit

*Note: I recommend that independent reading is the largest block of time during reading workshop or centers. Students need this time to engage in literacy and work with text of their choice at their level. You can read more about why independent reading is so important in this blog post.


  1. Each day after reader’s workshop is over, have everyone gather in your meeting spot with their journals and bag of books. Select about two students to share their independent reading practice. For this skill, students should share the book they read and one of the key details they retold or the lesson or moral of their story. They can also share any problems they came across.
  2. Towards the end of the week, when students have had ample time to practice retelling and determining the lesson, students rate how their independent reading work shows their mastery of the standard on a mini rubric in their journal. On the final day of the lesson, conduct very short conferences with each student to review their work and rubric and discuss next steps.
  • You can use the mini rubrics in my Mentor Standards unit on Folktales here, or if time allows, develop a rubric with your class.

Week 2: Passage Practice

Depending on your curriculum calendar, you can do these next lessons immediately after week 1, or you can revisit later in the year.

During the second week of instruction, the focus of recounting stories becomes using text evidence in passages.

If possible, I recommend you do passage and question practice immediately after week 2. It is important for students to see how the skills they learned the previous week transfer to passage reading; however, it is unrealistic to expect students to automatically translate the skills they learned without explicit instruction and guided practice.


  1. Review of Skills. Display the anchor chart about recounting folktales from the previous week. Review the description of a folktale or fable, keeping in mind the importance of cultural diversity. Discuss how recounting a story means to retell a story. Explain how to tell all of the important events from the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Then explain, to determine the lesson or moral, we ask ourselves, “What did the author want the reader to learn about life from this story?”
  2. Model a Passage. Show students a one-page passage either blown up on chart paper or on a projector. For more details on how I make my passages into posters, check out this blog post.
  3. Model Proper Reading Skills. Model how to close read the sample passage. Read it through one time, stopping to think aloud about the topic. Then model retelling the passage.
  4. Model Proper Question Skills. Model how to read each question, then go back into the text to underline the text evidence directly in the passage. I like to model using different colored crayons, colored pencils, or markers and have students do the same. You can find more about using this method in my blog about 2nd& 3rdGrade Common Core Reading Passages.

Guided Practice: (Can be a different day)

Have students help you answer the remainder of the questions. For some questions, use turn-and-talk or have students come up to underline text evidence on the poster.

Questions to Ask:

  • “What key events happened in the beginning? In the middle? In the end?”
  • “What is the problem?”
  • “What is the solution?”
  • “Where is the text evidence for this question?”

If your students need more support before working independently, you can have partners work on passage and question sets together on the following day. During this time, I would also pull a small group with my students who are reading well below level and work with them on a text they can have success with. For many of my ESE, ESOL, or intervention students, I would use my first-grade passages.

The Wolf and The Kid Folktale with question sets focused on RI.2.2

Independent Practice:

  1. Students work on fable and folktale passages independently. I recommend scaffolding the passage levels you use.
  2. For more scaffolding and differentiation tips, see my Teaching Reading Passages blog post here.
  3. Students continue to practice reading passages for RL.2.2/RL.3.2until most of the class is showing mastery.
The Fox and the Grapes Fable with an illustration of a fox and RI.2.2 based questions about the passage


  1. On the final day (typically at the end of the week), I administer an assessment for answering questions RL.2.2/RL.3.2. You can find a certified Lexile leveled assessment to use in my Fables product here.
  2. The day after administering the assessment, I go over it with students. For more tips on reviewing and correcting assessments, visit my Teaching Reading Passages blog post here.

Final Considerations:

After you have thoroughly taught recounting stories from diverse cultures, it is important to continue to model and expect students to apply their skills to all of their reading, including read-alouds, independent reading and guided reading. It is important that skills aren’t only taught in isolation. We want students to apply these skills and strategies throughout their daily lives to become stronger readers and thinkers.

Looking for More??

I created a Folktales, Fables, and Fairytales sort to help students compare and contrast these literature styles – and it’s free with email signup.

Understanding Folktales, Fables, and Fairytales sort

If you’re looking for passages to use for these lessons, I have these units available in my store.

Recount Stories: Fables - 2nd Grade RL.2.2 & 3rd Grade RL.3.2
Recount Stories: Folktales and Fairytales - 2nd Grade RL.2.2 & 3rd Grade RL.3.2
Recount Stories - Fables, Tall Tales, Myths, & Folktales RL.2.2 & RL.3.2
Recount Stories: Greek Myths - 3rd Grade RL.3.2
Julie Magicore Signature

Leave a Reply

MagiCore Learning Picture Logo







Subscribe to get free content by email.