An Interview with Beth Holland: HearBuilder Story Retell Test

Mar 29, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1)      I understand that Super Duper Publications has just introduced the HearBuilder Story Retell Test (H-SRT). Tell us about it.

The HearBuilder Story Retell Test (H-SRT) evaluates a student’s ability to listen to, remember the content of, and reconstruct and retell a story. The H-SRT is the Story Retell section of the Emerging Literacy and Language Assessment (ELLA). Super Duper Publications’ customers shared that they were using the Story Retell section of the ELLA in conjunction with the HearBuilder Sequencing software, and in response to customer requests, we published the Story Retell section of the ELLA as the HearBuilder Story Retell Test (H-SRT).

2) Is the H-SRT a standardized test?

Yes, the HearBuilder Story Retell Test is a norm-referenced assessment. Standard scores, confidence intervals, percentile ranks, and age equivalents are provided for students ages 4 years 6 months to 9 years 11 months.

3)      Who developed this assessment?

The H-SRT was developed by two of the leaders in field of speech-language pathology, Elisabeth Wiig, Ph.D. and Wayne Secord, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.

4)      How easy is this to give? Could you give us a global overview?

The H-SRT is very easy to give and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The evaluator begins by reading a short, two-sentence story to the student while showing the picture on the Trial Item Stimulus Card. The student then retells the trial item story while looking the Trial Item Stimulus Card. Once the trial item is complete, the evaluator chooses one of three storybooks that correspond to the student’s age and reads a story to the student while showing the pictures in the storybook. Afterwards, the administrator records responses as the student retells the story while looking at the storybook. When the test is complete, the administrator obtains standard scores, confidence intervals, percentile ranks, and age equivalents for the student. To see an informative video on the H-SRT, click here. To view FAQs about the H-SRT, click here.

5)      What is included with this kit or test?

The HearBuilder Story Retell Test includes an Examiner’s Manual with descriptions, explanations, and directions for administration, scoring, and interpretation. The H-SRT also comes with a Trial Item Stimulus Card and three age-level storybooks: Level 1 is A Day at the Beach (ages 4;6  to 5;5), Level 2 is Ice Cream Surprise (ages 5;6  to 6;11), and Level 3 is Making the Team (ages 7;0 to 9;11). It also includes 25 Record Forms, which provide directions, space to record responses, and scoring summaries.

6)      Who can use this assessment?

The H-SRT is for speech-language pathologists, special educators, resource specialists, reading specialists, school counselors, psychologists, and other professionals who are knowledgeable about literacy and language.

7)      Why do you personally think this test is important?

First, the H-SRT provides the evaluator with standard scores specific to story retell, a skill essential to academic success. Additionally, this assessment provides the examiner an opportunity to gather observational information on the student’s language, memory, and sequencing abilities. Does the student seem to have the auditory and working memory skills to recall the character names, what the characters did, how the characters felt? Is the student able to retell the important information in order (i.e., beginning, middle, end)? Does the student have the vocabulary and word retrieval skills to retell the story specifics? Does the student use time and transition words (i.e., first, next, last) when retelling the story? These are just a few examples of the types of information an evaluator notes when giving an assessment like the H-SRT. All of these skills are crucial to literacy and academic success.

8)      Any ideas as to why children do not remember what they read?

Reading involves numerous skills including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, syntax, memory, attention, and more. Specific to memory, both short-term and working memory deficits may impact a child’s ability to remember what they hear and/or read. Short-term memory refers to brief memory used to hold recent information. Working memory refers to memory capacity for storing heard speech or read text by keeping it available while processing and translating the information into meaning or responses. Children who struggle with short-term and/or working memory may need to be taught strategies to improve their memory skills.

9)     What resources does Super Duper Publications have for students who demonstrate weaknesses in story retell?

We offer numerous materials for educators to use with students who need to work on story retell and sequencing. You can find the following at

HBPE499 – HearBuilder Sequencing Software Program Professional Edition

HBHE488 – HearBuilder Sequencing Software Program Home Edition

WSB32 – Webber Story Builder Book and Pocket Chart

FD98 – Story Retell Fun Deck

FDS07 – Sequencing Fun Deck

FD107 – Sequencing Events in Stories Fun Deck

HBFD495 – HearBuilder Sequencing Super Fun Deck (available 6/1/12)

LANG22 – Language Lab – Response to Intervention Program for Teaching Grammar, Vocabulary, and Storytellin

In addition, Super Duper Publications provides free Handy Handouts, which are educational handouts for speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents. These are at The following handouts may be helpful to parents and educators working with students on story retell:

#825 – Sequencing and Executive Function

#286 – Look, Listen … and Sequence!

#295 – What Makes a Story a Story?

#167 – The Importance of Teaching Sequencing to Young Children

#331 – Helpful Strategies for Auditory Memory

#139 – Strategies Improve Content reading Skills

#62 – The Effect of Early Language Delays on Reading and Writing Skills

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