9th Grader Still Struggling with Narration

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  • Ashdavis5

    I feel like I’ve failed my son. We’ve done CM for 4 years, but while he went through vision therapy for 2 years, I was instructed not to assign any written work and to read all of his books aloud. During that time, I was very relaxed with the narrations; we mostly had discussions together after each reading.

    His reading comprehension has improved greatly since he’s completed therapy and he reads half his books himself and I read the other half aloud, but I still get two-word phrases or maybe two in-complete sentences, which never include an actual name or place. “They went to that place and did something.”  Most times he’s making things up that weren’t even in the text or he gets the whole story wrong. He draws a blank if I ask for a written or typed narration and it leads to tears and he says he feels stupid and like a failure since it’s been years of this and he can’t get the words out.

    When I give a sample narration, it spurs him on and he’s like, oh yeah, now I remember that, etc. I’ve tried giving him phrases or word prompts, shorter and easier reads to narrate, and he’s still stuck.

    I feel this pressure since we only have 3.5 years left of school together and I wonder if he’ll ever be able to write a paper or write anything. No idea where to even start to help him write a basic essay.

    He’s extremely smart; very gifted in other areas. He’s the very typical engineer type who can tell you how an airplane engine works, but can’t spell engine, ha!

    Karen Smith

    Have you tried listing key names of people and places before the reading? Having a list of what to pay attention for that can be looked at while reading can be very helpful. You can also list any vocabulary words from the reading that may be difficult for him to spell in written narration. The list of key names and vocabulary words can be used while he gives his narration, whether that is oral or written.

    Another thought is to allow some time after the reading before asking for a narration. Some students do better at narration if they have more time to process the material. They just need more time to “chew” on it and organize it before they can tell about it. One of my boys couldn’t give a narration immediately after a reading. He often narrated after some time had gone by. I was always amazed at what he narrated sometimes days later when he gave me blank stares immediately after the reading.

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