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What do you do when narration just seems inane?


Heather in VA
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I want to like narration. Really I do. I understand that kids can't just go from no writing to essays and I want to have more writing than just our writing program but this is driving me over the edge. My dd (8) has no trouble narrating stories back to me. She provides appropriate detail, correct order, her own words etc. But the whole process just seems so silly. She sits there the whole time thinking (and sometimes saying) 'Mom - we just read this of course I know what happened'. She has no trouble writing down her narration either, mechanically and content-wise but she really gets cranky about it because to her it seems dumb to write down what we just read and frankly I'm just having trouble understanding why we are doing it too. She doesn't give me trouble when we do re-tellings in CW because that really isn't strict narration.

 

When we discuss our reading with a more Socratic approach it seems much better, when I can ask questions that require her to think about why a character did something or what did she think about something but just saying the story back or answering the basic 'what happened' type questions just leaves us both feeling like 'well duh'.

 

So what do I do? I want her to write more but either I'm not doing narration right or this just isn't working for us.

 

HELP!!

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Since she's doing well with CW and is already able to narrate orally and in written form with accuracy, it may just be time to graduate from narration. It's a skill like any other, but once it's clearly been mastered, I don't see the point of continuing to hammer away at it. The results are tedium and frustration, as you're seeing. If you are able to check comprehension through discussions and the rest of her writing is progressing, just let narration go. :)

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Agreeing. Also, it sounds like she is already entering logic-stage thinking; moving beyond the what's to the why's and what if's.

 

One reason I haven't ever implemented CW is because I can't do WTM and CW and still have time to breathe. =) So, take this with a grain of salt. But, maybe you could start doing more of the logic-stage discussion questions in literature. Then, you are narrowing down a summary to the most relevant points. Or, you can have her write out an answer to a question like, "What is the most important event in the book and why do you think so?"

 

In history, try to help her come up with a topic sentence about just *one* small part of the whole reading, and some details that support that topic sentence. Then, expect a really well-constructed paragraph.

 

And, wow! She sounds like an incredible 8yo!!! Good job, mom!

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when I was 8. The first thing we did in the morning was write a short paragraph on a subject of the teacher's choice (a rocket, the surf, cats). It was called "creative writing". We read them aloud if we wanted to, and teacher reviewed them and corrected them. It seems so simple, but it turned me into a writing-lover. By trying to so something short but of our best work, it focused the mind first thing.

 

Just a thought.

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Why are you still making her do narration?!?! Move on. The point of narration was to build the skill of thought to word, and she has it. She's bored. My dd started giving me the "why, you could just read it for yourself" thing a year ago. Move on. For her history, she'd do better to fill in outlines, just mho. Hmm, maybe that's what I'm wanting for next year, is an outlining workbook! Isn't that what we're supposed to do in 4th? When I did the CHOW workbook with dd last year, I thought it was very worthwhile.

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