Narration Ideas for Older Students

These are just a couple of ideas, suggestions, brainstorming- they are not required, you don’t have to do it this way, and I am sure there are other approaches.  They are for students who have been narrating orally and understand it.


You might have a student write a list of the main points of a reading in bullet point form. I sometimes ask for the main point of each paragraph.

With two of my students, for one section of the book Invitation to the Classics, I gave them the following assignment along with an example to give them an idea of the sort of thing they might do:
As you read, write down a single sentence (in your own words) summarizing the main point of each paragraph-
For example, for page 13, I would have written:
1. Why we need to define the term ‘classic,’
2. People approach the classics in different ways, the authors as ‘custodians’ of our western heritage.
3. The title of the book reflects their goal of introducing others to these works.
4. The book is also a response to questions the authors receive about what books should be read.

What would you write?  – the point of adding here a short example of what I would have written is the same as when the parent takes a turn narrating for a beginning narrator.  This is a new step, and if you haven’t assigned this sort of writing before, it’s helpful to give the student an idea of what you mean.

For another book, you might have the student read for 15 or 20 minutes (or assign a set number of pages) and then ask the student to set a timer for five minutes and write down everything they can remember as fast as they can. At the end of the five minutes, they read it aloud to you. This way the legibility of the rapid writing is not an issue for you, and they can see areas they wish to change. Once there are a few of those narrations under their belts, then you might ask them to revise the narration the following day.

If they are reading a textbook such as a biology book, or any book that gives course objectives or vocabulary words at the beginning of the chapter you could ask them to make sure they include a few of those items in their written narration, if not in the first rough draft, in the later revisions.

This is the time you an begin to add typical essay type questions and compositions- compare two characters, how are they alike and different?

Tell me about the personality of one of the characters in the book, and include supporting information. If you say he is vain, tell me how you know that, what is there in the readings that told you he is vain?

Turn an event in the reading into a scene in a play.

Write about something from the reading as though you are a reporter reporting for a newspaper (or create a video project as a newscaster)

If you owned a mail order bookstore, how would you describe your literature book  in the catalog?

Look over the exam questions Miss Mason used for other ideas.


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