One of the learning tools I use to increase reading comprehension is narration. I start narration very young. Let me give you an example. This morning Hershey brought me a book that I have read to him a million times. I read it to him once all the way through and then I asked him to read it to me. He did really well. It was only a 5 page book with a very simple story line.
Page 1 "Elmo. Where Manket?"
Page 2 "Cookie cookie. Mon-ter. Ta-da. Here Manket. Here Elmo"
Page 3 "That is that. That the bubble. And Elmo. A baby crying"
Page 4 "Swing, bike, gown-gown (playground)"
Page 5 "Go go car"
Twizzler is at the stage where he can read the books to me and then give me a brief oral narration. I let him flip through the pages to help jog his memory. Today he read, Frog and Toad, A Swim.
Today in the story, Toad and frog went swimming around a river. Toad was putting on his swimsuit. They jumped into the water of the river. Toad went looking for frog and frog told the turtle, 'You should see Toad in his best suit.' He called the lizards. He told the snake. He told the two big dragonflies. Frog told the field mouse and then they all gathered around the river bank. They begged frog to come out and he went on a rock that was near and they all laughed. The turtle laughed. The lizard laughed. The snake laughed. The field mouse laughed and frog laughed and then Toad walked away. Frog was looking at him and Toad picked up his cloth and went home. And that is the story.
Skittles is reading Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy. He usually reads one chapter per day independently and then writes a short narration about what he just read. Today he read, A Japanese Boy In New England.
Manjiro walked on the first draw bride he saw. Manjiro who was sixteen had never done school in his life. The Whitfields bought a farm in New England that had fourteen acres of land. Manjiro was amazed. In Japan a person could only have a small yard.
When we finish our history and science readings, I also ask the kids to give me an oral narration on what we read. For those subjects I let them tag team it. In history we read about John Audubon.
Twizzler: We read about John Audubon living in the wild in the woods he had to go in the woods to study the birds. He was a good shooter. His friend asked him to shoot his cap and his friend threw it in the air and he could shoot it.
Skittles: They said John Audubon was a good shooter but the hunters were better. You know that tip of a candle? They could shoot off the tip of the wick and the candle was still burning. While he was living with the American Indians, someone had to fight a bear and the Indian won with a little bit of help from Audubon. The Indian stabbed it a few times with a knife and then Audubon shot it. He used to climb trees and collect eggs but he would not take all the eggs. He just took what he needed.
Twizzler: He wanted to experiment it and he poked little holes and blowed through them.
Skittles: He blew out all the stuff in it and then strung the egg shells together. He would also keep the egg and he drew them to make them look real. He went to France to be a writer and painter. He also collected birds. He decided they didn't look real enough so he decided to put the live birds in a cage and then he painted them. And that is how we have our Audubon Field Guide book.
In science we learned about the different kinds of bees and bee impersonators. They copied a bible verse and they drew pictures of the bees. I hope this helps Twizzler with his fear of bumble bees. We have to walk past them to our car every day from March to October. I have had to carry him to the car screaming many times. Maybe having read in his science book that bumble bees a reluctant to sting, he will become more brave.
Oh and I had no idea that there were no bees in America until the 1600s. Europeans brought them over here. My whole childhood people told me they are vital to the ecosystem. APPARENTLY NOT! The ecosystem did just fine before bees showed up. On October 15, 1492 Columbus wrote in his journal that all the islands were, "extremely verdant and fertile." Sited here