A narrative is a story. Narrative skills have to do with telling a story. The way this usually begins is with your child telling you about their day at bedtime.
When my son was less than a year as I would get him ready for bed I would talk to him about the things we did. Did we eat eggs for breakfast? Then did we go to the park? Did you have a nice nap? And Daddy came home and played with you didn’t he? Now you are going to go night night.
I simply recounted the big exciting events of the day like that.
When he was about 23 months he recounted his day for the first time. This is what I recorded he said, “ma, hor, do, wa”. We had gone to my Uncle and Aunt’s farm that day and Grandma was there (ma), he saw a horse (hor), he followed their dog around (do), and he played in the water with all the other children there (wa).
That was his first foray into narrative skills and this reading mom was excited!
Soon after that he began to “read” his books to his little sister. He would retell the story in his own words and show her what was happening. Exposing him to lots of books and giving him the opportunity to “read” on his own allowed him to be ready to share those stories with others.
Another part of this skills is being able to retell what happened in a story. Just like when we tell about our day we don’t tell everything that happened but just the big events, in our own words. To begin working on this after reading a story ask what was the story about? Discuss the big ideas in the story. Listen to what your child views as the big ideas.
Eventually this can become an art project where your child can draw the 3 – 4 big events in the story. In educational standards this is usually communicated by asking the student to tell or draw the beginning, middle, and end. Or if you are asking for 4 events what happened first, then, next, and last.
Another good way to talk about stories is the problem and solution model. What was the problem the characters faced? How did they solve that problem? And then go a step further and ask your child to be in the characters shoes? What would you have done? Or perhaps, was that a good solution?
What story has your child told lately?
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