What is Narration?

Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered.

Narrating is not the work of a parrot, but absorbing into oneself the beautiful thought from the book, making it one’s own and giving it forth again with just that little touch that comes from one’s own mind.

Charlotte Mason

Developing the habit of narration is one of the basic foundations of a Charlotte Mason education.

Narration increases comprehension and quickly becomes a habit when integrated into weekly lessons. It encourages students to read and listen with attention. Narration also helps parents assess student comprehension in real time, to quickly address any gap in learning or misunderstanding.

Narration eliminates the need for dull worksheets. Worksheets often contain busywork and hinder joy in education. 

Oral Narration 

Narrative literature, such as fairy tales and Bible stories, lend well to narration. When introducing oral narration, students may initially need parent guidance retelling the details of a story in their own words. Modeling narration and asking engaging questions will help students develop narration confidence. 

Written Narration 

Oral narration is a precursor to good writing skills. If students are doing well with oral narration and copywork, they are ready for written narration. Written narration builds a foundation for more complicated writing assignments. 

Students doing well with copywork are ready for written narration. Written narration should be used in moderation and should not replace oral narration. Written and oral narration are both valuable and should be used alongside one another.

5 Narration Tips

  1. Summarize the last chapter or event to refresh the student’s memory before resuming reading literature. 
  2. Listen carefully as your students narrate the ordered sequence of events in their own words, encouraging them to avoid generalizations.
  3. Prompt your students with simple questions, if needed. What do you remember about the story? Who were the main characters? Where is the story taking place? How did this passage make you feel? What is your favorite part? 
  4. Include discussions on moral topics.
  5. Keep narration lessons short, beginning with only a few minutes and limiting it to fifteen minutes. 

Narration Notebook

A Narration Notebook should include both lined pages for writing and blank pages for drawing. Young children can narrate orally or by drawing in their Narration Notebook. Older students can continue with oral narration, while adding written narration (and drawings) in their Narration Notebook. These notebooks will become a keepsake. 

Discover the joy of including narration in your homeschool! 

Home Education, by Charlotte Mason is a treasured resource on narration.

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