Topic | Narration Questions

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  • Betty Dickerson

    The video today Sonya was super helpful, even for me as a veteran CM mom. But I am finding some unique challenges in this season of family life homeschooling just one, and this one is my 8yr old daughter who has dyslexia and some processing challenges. I know and have seen the benefits of short lessons with my other children but my one with “diffabilities” seems like she need more time to process in order to narrate. And after a while it feels like I’m piling more info on top of info that hasn’t really been processed. So when I ask for a narration right after a reading, I don’t get a lot of feedback. I am really only homeschooling my 8yr old right now and compared to homeschooling 3 at a time where each narration built and added to a sibling’s narration, I find it so challenging to just receive one or two short statements on a reading. I do model a narration and add my own after she narrates.  I know I need to adjust my expectations. Then long term info, like asking my daughter if she remembers how the cheetah got its spots from a reading before Christmas, is discouraging to see that she doesn’t really remember. Not sure how to adjust?

    Sonya Shafer

    It can be tricky to find the right fit for our children with “diffabilities.” I don’t have all the answers, but I’d love to brainstorm some possible ideas that might spawn other ideas that might work. 🙂

    Sounds like she needs more scaffolding at this stage.

    • I’m not sure what kind of processing issues you’re dealing with (auditory, sensory, etc.), but with the dyslexia part thrown in, I’m wondering if a visual cue might be helpful. For example, a picture of a cheetah that she could look at while you read about how the cheetah got its spots. Then when you want to review the story, bring that picture back out and see if it triggers those memories.
    • Maybe taking the story a mini section at a time. Read that part of the story and ask her to tell you what happened. Write her phrase or sentence (whatever you get), show it to her, and read it back. Then proceed to the next mini section and repeat. At the end of the lesson time, read back (or see if she can read back) all of the mini narrations. Next lesson time, go back over the mini narrations as a pre-reading review. At that point, you could read her previous narration statements then ask her to tell you what happened last time. If you’re using the picture idea, show the picture as you go over her previous narration statements.
    • If she is reading some, you could also use the key words idea with a tweak to let her know what the story will be about. So you might choose one key word for each mini section you will be reading that day. Maybe give her only one word at a time, though, so she doesn’t get overwhelmed. So the first word might be cheetah.  Show her the picture, tell her the story today is about a cheetah. You could even do a verbal introduction to each mini section, treating it like a larger section as shown in the video. Maybe say, “First we will hear about what the cheetah looked like before he got his spots.” Then read that mini section and ask her to tell you about it. Write that sentence down, show it to her, and read it aloud or have her read it. Then add the second word to the white board, the one for the next mini section, and give a verbal clue/introduction/context for that section, etc.

    That type of approach would give her support for the context, which can be the big difference-maker in understanding and remembering. As with any scaffolding, you can reduce each support as she grows in that skill and is ready to take over that aspect on her own.

    Do those ideas sound at all close to what you might be dealing with or spark some ideas of your own that might be closer?



    Betty Dickerson

    Oh my goodness!  Yes!  Thank you Sonya!!  I’ve not thought of visual cues like this before. I think that would go over great!  Wherever possible I do try to look up a YouTube video that might be related to a reading, whether history or literature and that sometimes helps as well. I also need to help her with her long term memory so I will think about ways to do that. A BOC I thought would help but she needs to draw it I think and then be able to later decipher what she drew! Thank you so much for these ideas. I did need help thinking outside the box.

    This week I sit with her reading tutor to go over a lot of testing she did with my daughter to figure out exactly what her challenges are. Ask my about celiac, autoimmune issues, or medical issues and I’ve done the research bit I still feel pretty ignorant of dyslexia and processing issues especially when I’m in the thick of it and have little time to learn!

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