When we embarked on first grade this year, my initial plan was to incorporate narration into our reading routine. Little did I know that it wouldn't be as easy as I had anticipated. My son seemed resistant to the idea, and I felt unprepared for the task at hand. Even though I had read many books, blogs, and saw other children narrating! However, with persistence and a few adjustments, something finally clicked for both of us, transforming narration into one of our favorite activities of the day.
The Early Challenges:
During our first attempt at narration, I asked my son to retell a story in his own words. To my surprise, he responded with a question instead of diving into the narration. I quickly realized that I needed to approach it differently. I tried multiple times, but the resistance persisted, leaving me wondering what I was missing.
Recognizing the need for some type of assistance, I turned to some new resources to improve my understanding of narration. One book that proved invaluable was "Know to Tell" by Karen Glass. Armed with such great knowledge, I delved into research, determined to find a solution that would make narrations easier for my son and me.
Strategies for Success:
- Simplify: I learned to start with short passages for narration and gradually increase the complexity as my son became more comfortable. Breaking it down into manageable chunks made the process less overwhelming.
- Embrace Individuality: I discovered that narrations are not about correcting every detail but about valuing my son's unique perspective. Rather than correcting him, I focused on writing down his exact words, which he found empowering and enjoyable. We had a few good laughs too.
- Lead by Example: To provide guidance, I sat down with my son and shared an example narration. I read a passage and explained how I would retell the story if asked. This demonstration helped him grasp the concept more effectively. Don’t be too good at the narration, especially if they are younger.
- Create Personalized Books: I decided to make the narrations even more engaging by ordering notebooks with space for drawing on top and writing on the bottom. This gave my son a sense of ownership over his work. We dedicated a separate book for each subject, although this step is not necessary for everyone.
- Keep it Brief: Recognizing my son's need for movement, I realized that lengthy narrations could become overwhelming. To address this, we broke up the narrations into shorter segments, allowing him to move around the house while sharing his thoughts. This change made the process more enjoyable for both of us.
- Focus on School Books: While my son naturally narrated his "free reads," I decided to keep the focus on school books during our formal narration sessions. This approach allowed us to maintain a clear distinction between different types of reading and kept the experience structured and consistent.
- Consistency Matters: Like any new skill, consistency played a vital role in our journey with narration. Making it a regular part of our routine ensured that my son felt comfortable and confident in his ability to express himself.
Embracing the Transformation:
Through these adjustments and a commitment to consistency, we experienced a significant shift in our narration sessions. What once seemed like a daunting task had transformed into an enjoyable and activity. The power of narration became a tool for learning and connection, strengthening our bond and love for great books.
Do you use narration in your home?
I'm Julia Mederich - My husband Jordan and I have 3 boys (7, 4, and 2) and a girl on the way. We are a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschooling family and enjoy going on nature adventures, reading aloud, and learning through play.
We live in Northwest Wisconsin.
I'm excited you're here! And hope this content inspires you on your homeschooling journey.
”Home is the nicest word there is.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder