Narration: Helping Your Child Get The Most Out of Their Reading

L’Arlesienne, Portrait of Madame Ginoux. Van Gogh.

“People naturally fall into two groups: those who read and reflect on what they’ve read…and those who don’t. Schools should be making sure that all their students belong to the first group. It is wise to remember that, when someone is focused on the content and idea of what they’re reading rather than just the words on the page, thinking and reflecting will inevitably follow.” Charlotte Mason, volume 6

We are striving this year to do lots and lots of reading with follow-up written narration and then discussion. This means a single reading of each assignment with focused attention. Mr. B just doesn’t have time for reading and rereading his books. Paying attention and then making connections with the reading is the key.

What Has Helped – On the Student’s Part

  • Mentally place the event on a timeline
  • Recall the context of when the book was written or when the author lived
  • Ask a question and then look for the answer in up-coming material
  • Keep a commonplace book with quotes, reflections, and ideas
  • Tell someone what the material was about (oral narration)
  • Keep an outline with key words (IEW style)

What Not To Do – What I learned the Hard Way

  • Mom should not interrupt with lots of questions during the narration.
  • Mom should not expect the narration to include everything the child read but rather the highlights.
  • Mom should not end the narration with a lecture on what she thought was important.
  • In high school, Mom should not always pre-select the notebooking pages.
  • Don’t be surprised if you learn a thing or two from your child’s narration.

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