23 November 2008

Our current take on the art of Narration.

Our current take on the art of Narration.

Remember, we're not Charlotte Mason ‘purists’ and certainly not seasoned experts so narrating the way we do will irritate some. Yet it works so well here in our home.

For us narration is the pathway to effective writing, remembering that written narration is a taught skill which is so different from spoken narration, and to that end when we first started narration, it seemed so natural to ask our young listeners to narrate in ways other than just oral narration, since narration in any of these forms really does encourage the mind of our two children into thinking, in those early years the narration is given due to their enthusiasm to retell not by our asking them to.

Once they are around age six we ask for them to narrate, advising before hand that I really want them to listen and retell later as I did with Daisy & her "Gooney Bird Green' narration.

And here are a few of the alternate options we've used to date and still will, with Daisy. Jay has moved on to the next level and I'll get to posting about that later.:-)

-Drawing/painting a picture of a select portion of the story
(Jay & Daisy always wanted to explain what the drawing was about).

-Creating a basic diagram for ‘science’ or nature related topics

-Colouring in a blackline copy of a picture out of the book & selecting the colours mentioned in the story.
(My Father's Dragon springs to mind here – Daisy then 4.5 pleaded for a photocopied pict of her own of the dragon to colour just right).

-Their imagination comes to life & they play out the story.
(we often hear, “That’s not what happened next”, or, “XYZ said ….”).

-Put on puppet shows.

As we are growing into deeper levels of narration the skill & depth just seem to be developing naturally.
And I'm sure the more I read and ponder my understanding of how to use this powerful language arts tool the more effectively the children's usage of it will grow.

Last year, 2007, Jay then 7, gave four narrations that I typed up and his language usage certainly had grown as he pulled forward the language he had just heard in the book peppered through his own retelling of the reading.
The rest of the time we planned one narration every 6-8 weeks and used a few different methods, some of which are listed above. This science narration is from 2008's LA's work.
Whether it is correct or not :-) we don’t require our children to narrate word for word, to me that is memorisation and recitation, and is another facet of "narration" altogether.

What we are aiming for is for them to express in their own words, with their own personality fully engaged in what the narration piece is for them.

(As with The Wizard Of Oz, used in SL’s Core K, the same small piece of narration can be ‘soft & sweet’ from one child and ‘adventure and analyse’ from the other. When they narrate it is also teaching me to hear their thoughts and personality’s coming through – not just listen to garner a ‘correct’ narration).
This picture is Jay's drawn narration, done of his own volition, of Scarecrow's encounter with the Hammerheads.

& if you’d like to read another thought about narration here may interest you.
Or maybe pick up Penny Gardner's excellent book, Charlotte Mason Study Guide if you're not ready to jump into Miss Masons Original Home Schooling Series

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