Topic | narration frustrations

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  • jill smith

    hi, my dd is 11 and we are struggling with written narration. its the first day of our school year and it already tears shedding.

    She says she can say it back but when she starts to write she forgets what she is going to write. is this normal? how do I help her?


    Is this her first time with written narration?

    I would start with having her tell you, and you write it down for her. Write it as she speaks it, don’t correct grammar, that way she can see how her words translate to paper. After doing this a bit (you decide how long she needs this step a few weeks maybe more maybe less) write for her but as she nears the end stop and ask her to finish it on her own.

    Continue building her confidence cutting back how much you write vs how much she writes until she is writing on her own.


    And, don’t be surprised or discouraged if her written narrations are much shorter than her oral narrations. It takes a lot more out of a child to write and remember what they want to say as they’re worrying about spelling, grammar and punctuation.

    And, you are looking for content not sentence structure, spelling, etc. Try not to edit it while you’re reading (or she’s reading it to you) and maybe only correct one error, gently, if there is one. Nothing is more deflating than working hard only to have someone tear it apart (not saying you would do that..I’m speaking from experience 🙂


    It’s very normal! Here are a few things to know:

    1. She’s going to have a hard time getting words to paper because it adds in more things for her brain to keep track of. She has to think of what to say, how to organize the thoughts, how to spell the words, what punctuation she may need, put it all in order, and then get it from her brain to the paper – while remembering how to form letters neatly! She thinks a lot faster than she can write. She’s going to get frustrated. You’re going to wonder where her wonderful narrations went.

    2. Don’t have her do more than 1 written narration a week for at least half the school year. Really. Consider this year her ‘exposure’ year. For everything else through each day she still sticks with oral narration and the confidence it gives her will be important.

    3. Do not correct her written narrations. Do not pick it apart. She already knows it doesn’t say things as well as she wants it to. She already knows some things are misspelled, but doesn’t know how to correct them. She’s pretty sure her punctuation is wrong too. Ignore it all. Praise her effort, praise some gem of a word or phrase, thank her, and file it in a folder. Do this all year and let her see halfway through the year, and at the end of the year, how much progress she’s made over time.

    4. One way to have her get started if you think she would like it: have her tell you orally her narration and you write it down – BUT partway through have her take over to write the next part/sentence. Then take the pencil back and write more of her words while she says it. Maybe give her the pencil back one more time to add anything else she wants to say.   Then over time have her be the first to write, switching off with you. Then have her write for twice as long as you do in that piece.  It wouldn’t even hurt to have her write in the morning and then work on it again at the end of her lesson day to add to it, or add to it on a second day if she would do better with that.


Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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