After we retold Cinderella in four paragraphs, it was time to summarize it in a couple of sentences. The method I taught the fifth graders is Somebody Wanted But So Then. Here are some of the summaries they came up with:
Wanted to marry the prince,
But has to get slaved around the palace that she lives in.
So she snuck out and went to the ball.
Then she danced with the prince.
The stepmom and stepsisters
Wanted to marry the prince.
But the prince didn't like them.
So they tried to fit into the glass slipper.
Then it didn't fit.
Wanted to find a good wife,
But so many people were at the ball.
So he started dancing.
Then he fell in love with Cinderella.
Wanted to go to the ball,
But her evil mother said she couldn't.
So she stayed home.
Then things happened.
The fairy godmother
Wanted to help Cinderella to go to the ball.
But she had to be back by 12.
So she made C. a dress and fixed her up.
Then she rode away to the ball.
Wanted to find who owned the shoe.
But she ran away.
So he went searching.
Then he finally found the house the girl lived in.