Friday, February 22, 2008

How Narration Evolves

I would like to share a few of Pooh's narrations of the book The Wind in the Willows. We started this 180 page book in September and worked our way slowly through it. This is Pooh's first book that I've asked narration from. I think you'll see how, little by little, Pooh is picking up more details and learning the habit of attention along the way. When we started, I really wondered how or if things would improve. He missed a lot of things that were happening in the story, just from reading one page. As each day progressed, he got more and more into the story. He was interested in it so he followed along better. That's why good literature is key in a Charlotte Mason education. It keeps the child interested and engaged. Slowly working your way through a story allows them to develop a relationship with the characters in the book. They become friends.

This is the way we narrated this book. I took a 70 page notebook (10 cents each at Walmart during back to school time. I stock up because he draws so much.) . On the front cover I put The Wind in the Willows by Pooh (real name inserted). Each day, after the reading (which only lasted 5-10 minutes) I asked him to draw what he remembered from the story. There are many pictures in the book I have (more on that later) and sometimes he would sort of copy the idea he saw. Other times, it would be more what he was thinking. I encouraged him to use the colored pencils in the hope that he would use those to represent the story a bit more. After he draws the picture, I then write down on the same page or next to it, his verbal narration. He patiently waits while I write before he continues with another part. Such a nice boy! lol

I definitely noticed how sometimes a verbal narration would leave out a detail he had captured in his drawing and vice versa. For instance, he never told me that the gypsy caravan was yellow, but it was yellow in his drawing. He never felt any pressure from the narration. I know this because I never heard that whiny, slight yelling of "I don't know!" or "I can't do it!"

Now about the book. This is the version of Wind in the Willows that we've been using. I just finished it today and found out that it is abridged! Horrors! How did I miss that you ask? I'll tell you how. I found this book at a scholastic warehouse sale about 2 years ago before I knew anything about Charlotte Mason. The artwork was soooo beautiful, just what an English book should have. I guess I just never thought to look inside to make sure it was unabridged because it looked and sounded like it should. (Obviously, I had never read this book before.) Also, the only place it says abridged is on one of the inside pages. Sneaky, to my way of thinking. :D So, while I'm not unhappy with how things have turned out, I do plan on finding this book on audio at the library so we can get whatever was taken out. From the amazon review there may be small sections edited out, but perhaps the basic Graeme language was kept intact. I must at least be thankful for that.

I will post about 4 different narrations. The first will be from the first day back in September. Then I'll post 2-3 from the mid sections. Finally, there will be his last narration that is the end of the story. The last one is a little shorter because that reading was shorter, but I still see how he's picked up some of the details. Also, note that I typed them as he told them to me. Grammar mistakes and all.

Hope these narrations are enjoyable and encouraging to those who are on a similar road!

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