What are some of your favorite children's books to read to your babies? We spend hours on end in a month reading to our little ones and we even provide time for our older children to read quietly alone, but how much do they pay attention to what is read? Do you want to help your children in the area of reading comprehension? Of course you do. What do you know about helping your children in the area of narration?
As a former classroom educator, I was trained in the important skill of teaching children to retell a story. I even used the common 5 finger retell to help them learn to summarize. Apparently there really is more than one way to skin a cat.
As a homeschool mom of young children, I'm learning a lot about Charlotte Mason's methods. Narration (the work of paying attention well to a story in order to remember important parts, then retelling it) is very similar and effective for building reading comprehension. This is super easy, too. I'm excited to share it with you today and I'll bet you'll be trying it soon- if you aren't already including it.
What is Narration?
Charlotte Mason illustrates the skill of narration with an office visit to a doctor. You have a physical problem and the doctor says he will write the cure on a note card, but you only have a few minutes to study it. Then he will take it away. Obviously, you would study the card carefully and try your best to remember the important parts of what was written.
Narration teaches our children to pause and reflect, to go through the information in their minds and filter only the important, holding fast to it as precious information. When asked to narrate the story or tell what you remember, the student has to pay attention and truly know what happened. A child who can narrate, truly does understand and truly does know the reading.
How Do I Begin Narration?
1. Choose age appropriate books. You can begin narration with a 6 year old, but choose stories that are short in length without great detail. Aesop's Fables are great for this age. They have a clear message. For older children, longer passages or stories can be used. Please avoid using books or stories that are not considered quality literature.
2. Read one book or passage no longer than 15 minutes or so, less for younger children. Make sure the child is fully attentive. In your reading do not stop to define words or talk about the story while reading.
3. Ask the child to tell you about what you read. Hesitant children may need some help starting. Ask them to just give you one thing they remember. Around the age of 10, children can write their narrations down, but should not be evaluated for grammar or spelling errors. It's just to get down what's on their minds. For younger, you might want to write out what they say a couple times a month.
4. No interruptions. When the child is telling you about the story- no matter how long it takes- you are to listen only. This should be a relaxing time, not a stressful time of getting something out of them. This skill will develop as they get older.
Resources for Narration:
I've chosen a couple resources I found helpful in caring out narration practice. We purchased the First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind this year and it includes poetry recitation as well as narrations. We love this book! I am an amazon associates affiliate. Any purchases you make through my site will help support our family. Thank you!
Do your children do Narration in your homeschool? Is it working well for them? I'd love to hear how they're doing and if you've seen their comprehension improve in this way.
Want to know what methods, curriculum and resources we use?
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