What is a recount?

Home learning focus

To understand what a recount is.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to help you understand recounts

  • one video to show you what a recount is

  • three activities


Watch this short clip to learn about what a recount is.

Learn about recounting events.

A recount is when you describe an event that you’ve experienced to someone who wasn’t there.

You could recount anything: a day at school, a sports game you took part in or even a dream you had.

How to write a recount

1. Write in the first person (I, me, my) because it happened to you.

For example: I felt excited.

2. Use the past tense because it has already happened.

For example: It was the biggest fish I had ever seen!

3. Write in chronological order (this means the order in which events actually happened). Use adverbs of time to show this, such as: firstly, next, then and finally.

4. Use descriptive words and expanded noun phrases to help your reader imagine what happened.

For example: The huge, silver fish was shiny and slippery.

5. Focus on the most exciting parts. You don’t need to include all the boring details.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Check how well you understood the video with this short activity.

Fill in the gaps so that each sentence makes sense.

Activity 2

Watch this video of 400m Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu describing how she became a top athlete.

She is recounting the events in her life which led her to her success.

Watch Christine Ohuruogu recount how she became a top athlete.

Now watch the video again, but this time make some notes under these headings:

  • Me as a kid

  • Me and sport

  • My spark

  • My Olympics

You can print out the Notes Sheet to make notes on, or copy the headings out on paper.

Top tip!

Notes don’t have to be in full sentences. They should focus on just the main points.

Full sentence: Christine’s serious passion for sport started in high school when she joined the netball team and fell in love with the sport.

Note: High school = joined netball team, she loved it!

Notes Sheet

Activity 3

Now have a go at writing your own short recount.

Choose from one of the titles below.

  • My life so far
  • How I found my hobby
  • A funny story from my life

Aim to write at least two paragraphs with at least four sentences in each.

Remember: This time you do need to write in full sentences.

Top tip!

Remember to:

  • write in first person

  • use the past tense

  • keep in chronological order (the order in which things really happened - adverbs of time help)

  • use descriptive words and expanded noun phrases

  • focus on the most exciting parts

When you've finished writing, you could read your recount to a friend or family member.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about recounts.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize.

Click on the links below to keep learning.

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