Narration Problems: The Narration Has Factual Errors

by Jimmie

My child can narrate, but she mixes in some errors with the facts. How can I help her?

Dealing With Inaccuracies in Narration

Narration is a cornerstone of a Charlotte Mason homeschool. It simply means to tell back. After instruction (reading a book, listening to a lecture, doing an activity), the child tells back what he learned. The retelling can be oral or written.

Sounds simple. And it is simple. But it's not easy. Sometimes there are problems with narration. This page belongs to a series addressing common problems with narration.


What if my child's narration is just plain wrong? The facts are mixed up and inaccurate and do not reflect what was read or heard. What do I do?


This is a big problem because it means that your child doesn't understand what was taught. But the wonderful thing is that using narration revealed this lack of understanding. So narration worked! You now have clear feedback that something is wrong. 

What is wrong? There are several possibilities.

reading The 5000 year old Puzzle

1. Your child wasn't paying close attention.

Your child may have been distracted or simply did not work hard enough to listen to the lesson. 

Imaginative children sometimes daydream as they listen. They may hear parts of the reading but their imaginations take off and add to what they hear. Then when it's time to narrate, they add in their fantasies.

The bottom line is that the child must be trained to exert attention while reading or listening. You can give your child a second chance to listen or read again. If he still doesn't pay attention, you will have to determine your own consequence. But before punishing your child, consider the second possibility.

2. Your child truly doesn't understand.

Although you may think that the material of the lesson is straightforward and easy, there could be new vocabulary words or difficult concepts that make it difficult for your child. Try to identify what the problem areas are. Ask a few comprehension questions to determine what the exact misunderstanding is and clear it up however is necessary -- using a dictionary, drawing a diagram, etc. 

After clearing up the misunderstanding, you may want to read the passage again. 

3. There are emotional distractions.

When children are going through transitions, grief, physical illness, or other emotional turmoil, they will have a hard time paying attention to their school lessons. Spend time talking about the heart issues so that the mind can be clear to study. And be patient. Healing takes time.

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More Narration Problems

The Other Articles in This Series
My child will briefly narrate a passage but he leaves out all the main ideas. He doesn't seem to recognize what is important. What should I do?
When my child narrates a reading passage, he adds his own thoughts, imaginations, or even facts he learned elsewhere. Is this a problem?
When my middle schooler does a written narration, it is full of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and messy handwriting. What should I do?
My child can answer comprehension questions without any problem, but she cannot narrate a passage at all. What can I do?
Updated: 02/27/2012, Jimmie
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Jewelsofawe on 05/31/2011

This seems a good idea.

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