I forget where I heard it, but someone once told me that any book or story can be summarized with the following phrase:
(Somebody) wanted __________, but __________ so ____________; then ___________.
Let's try it:
Cinderella wanted to go to the ball, but she didn't have a dress so her fairy godmother made her a dress and then she went to the ball.
(Click for a rebus story)
Little Red Hen wanted to get help making bread, but dog, cat, and duck didn't want to help, so she made it alone then she ate it all herself.
So the grammar fanatic in me says these are run-on sentences, but it makes summarizing very easy for younger children!
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