Know and Tell: The Art of Narration
Narration, which is the art of telling back what has been read or heard, has been successfully used as a teaching tool since ancient times and was used extensively in Charlotte Mason’s schools to develop composition skills such as organization, sequencing of ideas, word choice, and sentence fluency. In Know and Tell, Karen Glass discusses the theory behind the use of narration and provides careful instruction for the process from beginning to end. As she does so, she shows how simple “telling back” is the foundation for higher-level thinking and writing. Glass provides many helps, including
- Narration scope and sequence chart
- An evaluation diagram
- Timeline for developing written narrations
- Rules of mechanics
- Suggested prompts
- Composition skills chart
- Many student samples
The process of narration begins with reading a story, poem, or nonfiction passage to a child one time all the way through without comment. When this has been done, have him retell or narrate the main points back to you in order. In the early years, narration is done orally, but as students grow older, narration can be written. Because narration is oral composition, young children can practice many of the skills needed in writing before they have developed the fine motor skills to actually write.
The art of narration has been growing among homeschoolers, but it also works well in co-ops and classrooms. Know and Tell provides many sample narrations from students of various ages and ability levels. These, along with timelines and a scope and sequence help parents and teachers understand how to use narration with students in any setting. Narration is one of the most natural of human activities and Know and Tell provides a way to make it a vital part of your homeschool life as you cultivate competent, confident communicators.