Sometimes I just need a one-stop shop for all the ideas that I find around the internet. So in order to facilitate my being able to find what I need when I need it and to hopefully help some of you out as well I'm gathering all the links and articles that have helped me with narration.
I'll also post these in the side-bar.
We use narration daily instead of tests or review or questioning. After I finish reading a portion of whatever book we are working through I pass around our Narration Jar and let the kids each pick a question. Some questions aren't always appropriate for what we have read so it's not a hard and fast thing.
Each child must narrate. I don't require long answers but "I don't remember" or "I don't know" are not passing grade:) If a child balks or can't seem to come up with anything I either move on to the next child (I have 2 in 2nd grade-twins) or I may ask a few general questions to help stir their memory. I have often found it helpful to narrate to them what I remember. Sometimes I have one of the children ask a question and each of us has to answer it.
I have found that using the narration jar and questions gets better co-operation and more enthusiasm than me just asking "what do you remember".
I haven't been really good and consistent about writing down narrations but I am making a better effort towards that end.
In case you are wondering, out of the 3 children old enough to give me narrations my son (8) by far gives me a shorter narration than my girls, but he has made tremendous progress. Tom didn't begin talking until he was 3 and spent a couple years in speech therapy, but after just one year of narrating his speech was brought up to his age level and now in our third year of narrating he is able to remember and narrate more than the last sentence!
It has been my experience that shorter portions of harder or highly detailed books makes narration much more doable for my kids. Pictures of what we are reading about are sometimes helpful as well.
My daughters both enjoy drawing their narrations while my son does not. Ali and Emi can narrate after longer passages while Tom does better with shorter ones.
The slower I read the better.
Anyways, I hope this helps and encourages you. If you are struggling or feeling like this isn't working please don't give up.
Relax and try again tomorrow.
NARRATION WHY AND HOW:
The art of Narrating
Narration Reminders from Jimmie's Collage
Narration and the Narration Cube
Articles on Narrating from Lindafay
Narration Jar from A Dusty Frame
Narration Ideas from Simply Charlotte Mason
Parents' Review Article at AmblesideOnline
Narration Bookmarks at Gentle Art of Chaos (I love these!)