Today, I am going to share with you the mechanics of narration and how we do it. Narration can be confusing to those who haven’t done it before. We may understand what it IS, we just don’t know how to actually DO it in our homeschool time. What does it really look like, just what are the mechanics of Narration? Here’s how we do it:
A child as young as six can regularly participate in Narration. Known as “a re-telling”, narration is simply having the student repeat back to you, the teacher, what you have just read to them in their own words.
In our homeschool, I explain to my student that I am going to read to them and that they need to listen closely in order to narrate it back to me. I read for a few paragraphs, stop and ask the child to explain back to me what has been read using their own words. After they’ve told me what they remember, I move on and read a little more, stopping every few paragraphs, having the child narrating frequently. There is no correcting, no repeating of material unless it is clear they weren’t listening at all.
It doesn’t take long for the child to begin to want to remember more details. With my own, in order to help motivate them, I may remark after their narration, about some details I remember, giving them a “picture” of how to do it, but it’s always done in a pleasant manner to encourage them in narration. Remember- you want your children to WANT to do this and develop their skill over time, taking care that you don’t discourage them.
Narration accomplishes many things:
First, a child quickly learns to pay attention for details in the reading to narrate back to you. This means their are fully focused. Listening for narration help a child with self control, listening, and comprehension.
Second, a child participating in narration must develop the ability to comprehend what is being read. This is not rote memorization, they must re-tell the material to the best of their ability int heir own words, meaning they must THINK about the literature being read.
Third, a child who is narrating learns how to effectively communicate. In the re-telling of the selection, they are practicing vocabulary and it’s proper usage.
Finally, they are learning the material in a very engaging manner. Later, this will lead to good study and retention skills. They receive instant feedback from you and this increases the rate at which they learn.
For many students, narration is the key to the retaining of information. It’s a great way for mom and dad to instantly assess whether their child really knows the material. And on the up side: it’s fun!