YMB #10 All About Narration: A Conversation with Sonya Shafer

Welcome back to a brand new season of Your Morning Basket. We’re starting this season off with a real treat: a conversation with Sonya Shafer all about narration.

Sonya is a veteran homeschooling mom and the co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason, where she makes the principles and practical how-tos of a Charlotte Mason education accessible to today’s homeschooling families.

All About Narration with Sonya Shafer Your Morning Basket Podcast

In this interview, Sonya demystifies the practice of narration, or reading living books and then having children “tell back” in their own words what they remember.

She shows how narration is not so much a method of quizzing our children, but rather a powerful tool for promoting attention, comprehension, and retention as the children make the books their own.

This conversation is full of step-by-step instructions for how to get started, ideas for moving beyond the basics with older kids, and plenty of trouble-shooting advice.

Listening answered so many of my own long-standing questions about narration, plus some questions I didn’t even know I had. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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The Basket Bonus for today’s show is a narrations help bookmark. Enter your information to gain access to the Basket Bonus library.

Links and resources from today’s show:

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  • Emily says:

    how do i get the free bookmark?
    many thanks

  • Karen says:

    Great show! I have a question for Sonya. Sonya, you shared as part of the 5 step narration process, to pick out two or three key words, write them on the board, and then ask the child to be watching for those words. What if, in doing that, the child focuses so much on listening for those particular words and then doesn’t pick up on much else in the reading? Or maybe they only pick up on the sentence or two where the key words are used?

    Thanks for a great show. I am working on narration with my youngest and this show was so helpful!

  • Karen says:

    Sorry….when I say in my comment above the sentence or two where the key words are found, I mean that maybe they can only tell you basically what has been read where those key words are found. Does that make sense?


  • Cassie W. says:

    I just listened to this podcast after putting it off for so long because I thought I already knew it all about narration. ; ) But, I learned some new stuff and understood thing better! I even have Sonya’s book on narration. There were some things I’ve been meaning to look up in her book for a couple of months now and those were covered in the podcast (4 types of narrations) so that was helpful for me to final check that task off my to-do list. Right on time since we have end-of-term examinations next week and I need to write the exams. My lesson learned is that I was wrong not to listen to a podcast because I thought I knew it all because there is always more to learn! : )

  • Aubrey Carey says:

    A few questions:
    Do you have a few just for fun read alouds and then one you do narration with daily? Or can you read a chapter, do some narration the next day, etc? It will drive myself and my 11 year old crazy to read such short passages esp in an interesting book?
    Ive got one 6 year old who is a struggling reader but seems to be able to more easily recall a story (usually he draws or dictates to me), and an 11 year old who cant stand the thought of not having ONE RIGHT answer, open ended questions, etc. As she told me the other day, I NEED workbook pages and fill in the blanks. She reads a ton, reads fast, BUT can not seem to recall (or either is scared to mess up so says she cant?) Much about any story she reads??
    Im new to homeschooling and new to narration.
    We are just starting out and ive been reading the narration q and a series on SCM today and listened to this..

  • Angela says:

    This was great! Thank you! I thought I listened to everything on narration, but I still had questions. This answered them and gave me so much more I never even thought of.

  • Rebecca says:

    Pam, thank you so much. Finally! I am understanding narration! I just began homeschooling in the fall, and your website and podcast have helped me so much! I tried Sonya’s 5 steps for successful narration today. We began reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I wrote “Hermia & Lysander, Demetrius & Helena” on the whiteboard. I’m sure it helped my children follow the story, and their narrations improved so much! They didn’t want to stop when our time was up!

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