Beginning Narration

When we began first grade this year we started to incorporate narration with our reading. I’m going to be honest, I thought it would be easy, but I was met with a lot of resistance from my son. I wasn’t expecting this!

So, I stopped and tried again a little while later. I did this a few more times, because I continued to be met with resistance. But, one day it started to work. It was like something finally clicked (for both of us) and now he enjoys telling me the story in his own words. It has easily become one of our favorite activities during the day. 

I’ll admit, I was not the best prepared for narrations. I assumed he would get it right away. How hard could it be?

Our first attempt at narration went like this?

“Can you tell me this story back in your own words?” -me

“Why did he do that?” - 6yo

“No, don’t asked me a question, just tell it back to me” -me

“Why?” -him

This went on for a while.

I went back to my books. Ordered Know to Tell by Karen Glass and started researching. 

Here is what I did to help make narrations easier

  1. Make it simple. Shorten the passage you want your child to narrate. Just start with a couple sentences and slowly build up to longer narrations.
  2. Narrations are whatever the child says! Don’t correct them. Sometimes I guide my son, but he really enjoys that I am writing down his exact words.
  3. Give an example narration. I sat down with my son and read a passage and said, “if someone asked me to retell this story, then this is how I would say it…”
  4. Have them make a book. I ordered notebooks with a space to draw on top and write on the bottom. He loves his books! We started one for each subject. This is not necessary, but what has worked for us.
  5. Keep it short. Especially for a 6 yo who wants to get up and move. We break it up and move around the house. Asking them to sit down and give narration after narration can be daunting.
  6. Only narrate school books. I don’t ask for narrations from our “free reads” (although he does this naturally anyway)
  7. Stay consistent. Just like anything consistency is key.

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

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