Category Archives: Narration

Tips for Narration

Narration is the process of telling back what has been learned or read. Narrations are usually done orally, but as the child grows older (around age 12) and his writing skills increase, the narrations can be written, as well. Narration can also be accomplished creatively through various methods including painting, drawing, sculpting, play-acting, etc.

Because people frequently ask me how to deal with children narrating the same passage at the same time when reading to the kiddos all together, I’ll give a brief answer about how we’ve dealt with this issue in our home.

After each reading selection, I call on one of the children to narrate — they don’t know who it will be from one time to the next. Sometimes if I feel the first narration was sketchy, I’ll call on the other to narrate any additional information he or she would like to add to the earlier narration.

We do brief oral narrations after every subject each day — whether the subject was covered together orally or studied independently. We only do written narrations a couple of times a week for just a few carefully chosen subjects.

Many times people starting narration for the first time discover that their children are hesitant to narrate. When asked to tell about the story, the child responds, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”

If you’re hearing “I don’t know” constantly, one of several things could be happening. Perhaps the material is too difficult for the child, or the passage could be too long. For beginners, have them do a narration after reading only a short paragraph or two. Possibly the child just isn’t experienced enough with narration yet to attempt anything long or complex.

When we were first starting to use oral narrations, I found that Aesop’s Fables and the Beattrix Potter books contained just about the right amount of material for my beginning narrators. These books contained short stories that could be read completely in one easy sitting.

One trick I learned to help the reluctant narrator is this: when I heard the “I don’t know/I don’t remember” response, I’d say something goofy that had absolutely nothing to do with the story in question (with a smiling glint in my eye), such as: “So, the little red wagon turned into a purple frog. Is that what happened?”

Then my reluctant little narrator would say, “NO, Mommy! That’s not what happened — you’re funny!” With a giggle and a huge smile, they’d be off and running, giving me a detailed description of the story they “didn’t remember” just moments before.

Works every time.

Just my humble thoughts — following a quarter century of homeschooling — for what it’s worth.


51BlGAcUHnL(Excerpted and adapted with permission from A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Deborah Taylor-Hough is a long-time homeschooling mother of three (now adult) children as well as a freelance writer and the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide to Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity.  Visit Debi on Facebook.


Successful Narration

by Sheila Carroll
Guest Contributor

Narration is a simple but powerful tool of learning. Most children enjoy telling you what they know about a subject. It delights them to tell about an incident, however small it may seem to us. Charlotte Mason, a British educator from the last century, believed that this love of telling could be used as a foundation for self-education. Continue reading

Sample Narration: Earthquake!

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Usually Charlotte Mason’s “narration” technique is used with school-related topics or after reading from a book. But what about Life Narrations rather than more traditional academic-related narrations?

Every now and then, life throws something really exciting across our path that’s worth remembering in vivid detail. Children have a wonderful capacity to remember large volumes of information — especially about things they’ve experienced personally. But as the years go by, those events sometimes fade or get confused amid a lifetime of other memories. Continue reading

Sample Narration: The Life of Beatrix Potter

NARRATION:  Beatrix Potter video
–A sample narration by an 11-year-old girl

Note from the Editor: Narration is assimilating information and retelling it — it’s a simple, yet powerful, educational technique that can be used in all school subjects and experiences.  We often think of narrating books, but our children can also narrate field trips, movies, or anything we want them to retain. Continue reading

Narration Tips

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Since people ask frequently me how to deal with children narrating the same passage at the same time when reading to the kids all together, I’ll give a brief answer about how we’ve dealt with this issue in our home. Continue reading