This is the third and final post in the Narration Basics series. Other posts are
1. Narration Basics: Expectations
2. Narration Basics: From Oral to Written
Narration is simple. That means it is not complex to implement. You don’t need to buy anything. You merely ask your child to tell back (or write) what she just read (or heard).
However, narration is not simple in the sense that it is easy for the child to do. It is a complex cognitive (thinking) task. So although you’re asking a simple question, “So what did we read today?” the thought processes your child has to use to narrate are quite challenging.
As you develop the narration habit in your Charlotte Mason homeschool and practice narration, you may encounter some of these common problems. I certainly have faced these at various points with Sprite.
- Narration is Too Hard This article outlines the cognitive challenge that narrating poses and some tips for making it easier.
- The Narration Has Factual Errors What should you do when a narration is just plain wrong?
- The Narration is Full of Mistakes This article deals with written narrations that have loads of misspellings, punctuation errors, etc.
- The Narration Contains Extra Information Is it a problem when a child likes to elaborate on a retelling by adding her own details?
- The Narration Lacks the Main Idea If a narration is missing the main idea, you know there is a problem. This article outlines what the problems may be and how to address them.
As my daughter develops and faces more challenging reading material, some of these problems resurface. But the good news is that narration becomes second nature as it is practiced over the years.
Oral narrations lay the foundation for written narrations. Written narrations lay the foundation for expository writing. So it is worth the investment of time and energy to correct the narration problems you see during homeschool lessons.
I’d love to know what problems your children commonly have with narration and what works best to solve them.
Thank you, Jimmie! I will read this when all the children have Quiet Time. What an important post!
Hooray for narration! I believe that narration helped my son recover from his “writing-phobia.” When he was in (public school) first grade he was expected to write summaries of stories. He had lots to say but couldn’t get it down on paper–he just wasn’t ready for that much writing. So he started simplifying his thoughts, if that makes sense. That way he wouldn’t have to write as much.
When I took him out of school I didn’t make him write anything for almost a year. But I did have him re-tell stories and orally summarize whatever we read together. And he enjoyed it, because the pressure of writing was gone. Now that he’s older (fourth grade) he is much more confident about writing, and he doesn’t simplify his retelling just so he can write less.
The only problem we have with oral narration is that sometimes it seems to take a lot of prompting from me. An open ended question like “What did we read today?” will get me two or three sentences. So I have to ask very specific questions, and keep pressing for more detail. The kids seem to know their stuff, but getting them to talk about it can be a challenge!
Thanks for the great links–going to explore them now!
Would you like me to narrate your post back to ya? ;0) My 7 year old is getting much, much better at recounting his reading. I really didn’t know that narration was a Charlotte Mason thing. I really need to learn more about CM.
His biggest problem, of course, is sitting still long enough to actually read or hear the text.
Great series on narration, thanks for sharing it! Our current problem is the riddled with mistakes one. It’s encouraging to know that it’s a process and I’m not the only one dealing with it :).
Just wanted to let you know that I have awarded you on my blog today in rocognition for all of your generosity in sharing your freebies and saving us time in our homeschooling. Keep up the good work.
I love narration! Madison, however, believes that she must tell me every detail in order to be correct. Makes narration really long. 🙁