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

Narration is a simple tool that aids in comprehension and evaluation. It quickly becomes a habit when integrated into weekly living literature lessons. Narration encourages students to read and listen with attention. Following literature with narration allows parents to assess student comprehension in real time. This provides an opportunity to fill in any gaps or misunderstandings.

Oral Narration 

Narrative literature, such as fairy tales and Bible stories, lend well to narration. When introducing oral narration students may need parent guidance to draw out details. Parent modeling narration and asking engaging questions can help students develop narration confidence. 

  • 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? 

Written Narration 

Oral narration is a precursor to good writing skills. The habit of oral narration will help students transition to written narration, This builds a foundation for more complicated, future writing assignments. 

If a student is doing well with copywork, they are ready for written narration. Written narration can be hand written or typed. Written narration should be used in moderation and should not replace oral narration. They are both valuable, and should be used alongside one another.

Simple Steps to Successful Narration

  1. Summarize the last chapter or event to refresh the student’s memory before reading daily literature. 
  2. Read literature aloud (or have student read independently, depending on the age and preference of your student).
  3. Listen carefully as your student narrates the ordered sequence of events in their own words, avoiding generalizations.
  4. Prompt your student with simple questions, if needed. Include discussions on moral topics.
  5. Keep narration lessons short, beginning with only a few minutes and limiting it to fifteen minutes. 

I recommend Home Education, by Charlotte Mason as a treasured resource on narration.

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