Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Classical Preschool - Narrate

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Welcome to day four of The Classical Preschool!  Today we are talking about narration.  To read the other posts in this five-day series, click on the picture above.


What is narration?


In case you are not familiar with narration, let me define it for you.  Narration is simply to give an account or tell the story of something.   Homeschoolers typically use this as a tool to gauge understanding and increase listening skills.  After a mother reads a story or passage of some sort, she will ask her children for a narration.  This means that the child would 'tell back' the story or information to their mother. 


Why should preschool children narrate?


First of all, narration is a fantastic tool to help your child to really pay attention when you read to them.  We have already talked about reading aloud to your children, so the next step is encouraging them to really listen to and understand what you are reading to them.  You will want to teach them to narrate by beginning with small passages (maybe a paragraph) and helping them by asking questions to get them started (Who is this story about? What did Laura do with her dog?)  This is a great time to teach them to respond in complete sentences.  If they respond with a one-word answer, simply repeat their answer back to them in a full sentence and have them repeat it back to you.

Secondly, narration is important for preschoolers because speaking is much easier for them than writing is.  While your young child may not be able to write, or tires after only a short amount of writing, they can speak almost endlessly (or is that only my kids? ha!)  For the sake of applying this concept to preschoolers, I am going to expand the definition a bit and show how your can use narration to teach your child in many different subjects.


Narration Ideas


History

  • Read living history stories out loud and ask for narration.
  • Include preschooler's in older sibling's history lessons.  Instead of having them write the answers to end-of-chapter questions, ask them to answer a question or two out loud (practice complete sentences).
  • Example: "The family had to travel really far to get to their new home.  It took them a long time and the sister got sick."

Math

  • Ask your preschooler a math problem out loud and have him answer out loud.
  • Example: "If Johnny had four balls and one rolled away, he would have three balls left."

Science/Nature

  • Read a living story about animals or nature and have your child narrate it back to you.
  • Example: "The tree got pretty blossoms on it in the spring.  In the summer, the leaves were big and green.  In the fall, the leaves turned red and fell off.  There were no leaves on the tree in the winter."

Literature

  •  Read a passage from a children's literature book and have them tell the story back to you.
  •  If you are doing narration in other areas, I would recommend leaving this read aloud time just for enjoyment and not require narration.  If you are not using it in other areas, then this is a great place to do it.

Bible

  • During family worship, read the Bible passage and then have your children narrate it back to you.  Start with the youngest and work up, having the older children add any details the younger ones did not include.
  •  Example: 
    • "Mary and Joseph went to a stable and Jesus was born there." (preschool)
    • "Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem and had to stay in a stable.  Jesus was born there and shepherds came to see him." (middle sibling)
    • Caesar Augustus issued a census, so Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to register.  There was no other room, so they had to stay in a stable.  Jesus was born that night and shepherds came, following a star, to worship him." (eldest child)


I hope that gives you some ideas of how to incorporate narration into your classical preschool.  Don't stress over making sure you include all of these areas, they are just examples.  Just work on getting into the habit of asking questions after you read something to your child.  Answering these questions is great training for them.  Also, don't avoid material that you know they can comprehend just because it requires writing.  Just turn it in to a narration!


How do you incorporate narration with your preschoolers?


This series is a part of the iHomeschool Network summer Hopscotch!  Click the picture below to find other great series' from the ladies of the iHN.

2 comments:

  1. Hello! I am so excited to have found this series of posts regarding classical education for preschoolers! I am getting ready to start classical education with my eldest who is four and this has been an incredible resource. One question for you.... Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "living" history and science books? Thanks so much!

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    1. I am so glad that you are finding this helpful! After you asked the question about living books, I was thinking about writing a blog post to answer it, because it's a great question! I've decided not to do that (for the moment at least =) but here is a great article that I hope answers your question... http://www.amblesideonline.org/LivingBks.shtml

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