Written and Oral Narration Are Equally Important Homeschool Skills
Oral narration has been a staple of classical education for nearly 3,000 years, but it’s not the only way to improve reading comprehension and long term retention in your homeschool child. Written narration can be the catalyst for deepening knowledge, intelligent interpretation, and regular note-taking. You can effectively use both oral and written narration in your classical homeschool.
Make Narration a Regular Practice
Most kids and preteens working at the late elementary school level can handle written narration without much parental guidance.
- First start by asking your child to tell you what he has just learned.
- If he’s reading a book, ask for an oral narration after each chapter.
- If he’s watching a video documentary, stop the video and ask him to give an oral narration after each segment or module.
Once he has spoken his thoughts, it’s time to get them down on paper. For the younger child (say 5-7 years old) this may mean that you have to take dictation as he talks; he can then copy what you have written. If he’s 8-11 years old, have him write his own thoughts in a complete one-idea paragraph.
Create a Simple Narration Template
When my kids were younger, say 5-7 years old, I created a narration template for them to use (would you like a FREE copy?) I took a blank piece of 8.5 x 11 inch copy paper and visually divided it into thirds. I left the top 2 thirds blank so that they could draw a picture from the reading or video. I used a ruler to draw horizontal lines on the bottom third of the page; this is where they either copied my dictation or wrote their own narration of the main ideas of the story.
Drawing for understanding is also extremely helpful, and when you combine the picture with the narrated text, you’ve got a recipe for reading comprehension and critical thinking success. Plus making oral and written narration part of your standard daily or weekly practice sets your homeschool up for success in the high school years when note-taking becomes essential.
P.S. Save yourself some work, and get all four of my Narration Templates.
4 pp. PDF | 2 green + 2 pink pp. | college + wide-ruled
All the work is done for you!