Narration - telling back
I use narration in my home instead of fill-in-the-blank worksheets and love how it has taught my children to think. They are able to tell back what I have read to them or what they themselves have read.
What is narration? It is simply retelling. When children do this, they are actually using higher levels of thinking. They must listen carefully, synthesize what they heard, evaluate the most important parts, and retell in their own words.
Learning to narrate helps the children as they transition into writing. Instead of telling their narrations they write them. Sometimes I would have my young children narrate and I would type what it was they were saying. They loved seeing their words in print, and it gave them a great sense of accomplishment to know they had "written" something.
Remember to read the selection only one time. This teaches the children to give their full attention the first time. If you read it more than once, they learn that they don't have to listen intently until the last time read.
Some thoughts to remember about narration:
1. Don't require children younger than 6 to narrate. They are allowed to, but don't require it
2. Don't correct their narrations. If they get informaiton wrong then the other children can correct them in their narrations or you can remember the error and correct it in a different teaching.
3. Don't ask questions. When you ask questions, you are actually telling them what is important instead of letting them think for themselves and choose the important points.
If children are having a difficultt time learning how to narrate, you can model it for them. It is also a good idea to start with short selections and make them increasingly longer as they learn how to narrate. Also - please do not have them narrate everything. They will come to hate the process if you do!