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  • Mrs_Longworth

    I have a 14-year-old, 11-year-old, and 8-year-old actively doing oral narration together. The 14-year-old is a stickler for accuracy, with a memory that continually leaves me in awe. lol However, he expects his younger siblings to have the same approach to narration. My 11-year-old is very creative and whimsical, and her narrations reflect more how she felt about the passage than what was actually written, often containly at least one change from the original story. I allow her to narrate with no correction since a correction during her narration shuts her down, and causes her to feel like a failure. But her older brother is continually horrified by her lack of attention to detail. I teach them that each of their varying personalities is necessary, and put here by our Creator for a purpose. I insist that he not interrupt the narration while she is speaking. However, I do wonder if she is memorizing “alternate facts”. Should I correct her as she goes? Should I correct her after her narration? Should I correct her at a later time when her brothers are not there?

    Karen Smith

    You are doing a great job teaching your children to respect each other as individual persons! Each of us will narrate according to our personalities and in a way that is uniquely us.

    You are correct that your child should give a narration, even with wrong information, without interruption from you or anyone else. However, you should correct any misinformation after the narration. It will depend on your family when you do that, but you will want to do it not too long after the narration is given. In other words, if the narration is given in the morning don’t wait until evening to correct it.

    You could explain to your daughter that for narration she needs to stick with what was in the reading. Explain the purpose of narration to her, that it helps her remember the facts of what was read. She can use her imagination for stories when she is writing in her free time or if you assign a creative writing exercise like those in Story Starters.

    One thing you might consider for your oldest son would be to have him write his narration in another room while the other children orally narrate to you. That way he doesn’t have to hear their less detailed narrations or any wrong information they might give. Or you could have your daughter narrate privately to you without her siblings nearby.

    If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Karen Glass’ book Know and Tell: The Art of Narration. It is a thorough resource for understanding the ins and outs of narration. Our blog series, Narration Q & A, answers user submitted questions on narration, including one on what to do if your child gives wrong information in a narration. Our book Your Questions Answered: Narration includes the questions and answers from that blog series with more content to help you understand narration better.

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