Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There's More than One Way to Narrate

I love narration for many reasons. It makes my job as teacher much easier because I don’t have to come up with fancy lesson plans and evaluative questions and it saves time-a lot of time. Knowing that narration is actually better for the development of my children's mental processes rather than the use of worksheets, is also reassuring to this mom. Remember, they have to recreate in their minds what they just read, using complete sentences, new vocabulary and orderly sequencing. This requires more complex thinking skills than answering questions and yet narration is more enjoyable. The children like it because they enjoy expressing what they know rather than having to worry over giving an answer that perfectly matches a narrow question. After all, their minds are bursting with new ideas and they just want to share them in their own way. Firing questions at a child will put the life out of his new-found knowledge quicker than a wink.

However, even narration can grow tedious for a child if he is repeatedly expected to retell the events from most of his schoolbooks day in and day out. Children are very good at making and having fun. I have noticed that my kiddos try to find enjoyment in everything they do. This is why I am always telling my 4 year old to stop skipping through the house; and to my 8dd-'stop chatting while you write.' While lessons need not always be with a party atmosphere, I agree with Mary Poppins, "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap, the job's a game." (And she ought to know since she is practically perfect in every way.)

Miss Mason spoke of various narration methods. Here are some of the forms that we use on a regular basis:

Detailed narration
Five-minute skit
Toy play
Make 5 questions
Notes narration
Poetic narration
News presentation
Creative Narration

This list is not conclusive, but is just what we have found to work for our family. No doubt, many of you have heard of these suggestions before, but I thought it might be helpful to some readers if I explain just how we implement these forms in our day and why particular forms are chosen for some books while other narration forms are chosen for others. I plan to do this in a series of short posts rather than a very long one. But that's all for today. :-)

one step at a time...


  1. mommaofmany14.3.07

    Thak you for this will help around here alot! I usually just ask, "What did you read about?" and then listen for five or ten minutes. Changing up the narration will add some new spark to it!

  2. We haven't been using narration very long, only since last September, but I have really seen the benefits. Often while I'm reading to the boys I'll have them draw something I've read. I have found this serves two purposes, retention and curtailing the fidgeting. Yay narration!

  3. Thanks for visiting mommaofmany and Kathleen.

  4. Anonymous15.3.07

    I let my twin boys do a skit from trial and Triumph about St. Patrick as their narration and they had a blast.