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Narration is my go-to strategy whether I'm with my big or little students. It can be tailored to fit teaching functional vocabulary, social skills, or the language used when problem solving. Narration is taking "talking to yourself" to a whole new level. Instead of talking out loud just to organizing your thoughts, you're talking out loud to explain to your child what you're doing.

Why Use Narration?

Your child may watch you pour cereal and milk every day , but if you never say "cereal" or "milk," then how will your child learn those words? We pick up a lot of information and vocabulary by observing and listening. If we're going to pick up this information in our environment, then it was to be there. Your job is to put that information out there and make it available to your child by narrating your thoughts and actions. If you're trying to teach specific words, you'll use Auditory Bombardment simultaneously with narration. When your using basic narration, your goal is primary to expose your child to a lot of language. Think of Auditory Bombardment as quality and narration as a strategy of quantity.

(BTW, why is it sooo important to exposure your child to a lot of language? Because research has shown that a child whose family is receiving welfare has heard 30 million words less than a child from an affluent family. And there are significant consequences do to think lack of language experience.)

How to Narrate

Narrating's pretty simple, just do some talking : ) Here are some examples of what you may say when narrating:
  • Scenario #1: Making Breakfast
    • "I'm hungry so let's get breakfast. What do I want to eat? I want some pancakes so I need to get the pancake mix. Let's get the pancake mix from the cupboard. Now I need to get a bowl, a spatula, and some measuring cups......."
  • Scenario #2: Looking for the Car Keys
    • "It's time to go to the store so we need to get ready to go. I need to get my shoes, wallet, and keys. Uh-oh. Where are my keys? My keys are supposed to be here but I don't see them. Maybe I left them in the kitchen. Let's see if they're on the counter...."
  • Scenario #3: Purchasing a Gift
    • "Grandma's birthday is tomorrow so we need to get her a gift. Let's make her a card. Let's see, to make a card we need paper, markers, scissors and glue. Where are the markers? Are the markers in the bathroom? No, markers don't go in the bathroom. The markers are in the craft cupboard by the crayons and finger paint...."
Narrating many of your thoughts and actions can feel a little luny initially, but embrace the crazy 🙂 It soon becomes second nature and your child's language development is worth being slightly and temporarily uncomfortable.

Think about how you spend your day with your child and pick some routines to begin narrating.

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