Show and Tell: The Missing Ingredient in Home Learning!

By Tracy Thomas

Show and Tell? How is this important?

Believe it or not, show and tell actually is an educational tool! Having your children simply share  what they know about a subject or book is a powerful way to cement the concepts into their long term memories. 

Think about a time when you crammed for a test and then forgot 95% of it by the weekend. Then think about a presentation you did, or a concept you taught someone, and how much richer it was for you, as you wrapped your head around it enough to share!

By putting concepts into your own words, you have to truly digest them, allowing them to marinate in your mind. By subtly figuring out how this new idea fits in the context of that which you already know, the new idea that comes out is fresh, unique and coated with a different wisdom from experience. This beautiful process encourages so much more depth in the learning process.

Verbally presenting ideas not only helps kids to build confidence in developing and organizing their own ideas, but in their public speaking skills. The most brilliant ideas are rendered useless if they can’t be properly communicated and shared with others! Being able to persuade your audience about the importance of something builds a key foundation in leadership. What better audience than one’s own family to develop confidence in public speaking!

How to do Narration

Charlotte Mason, a philosopher-educator in the early 1900’s, fully understood the value of show and tell. She called this practice “narration”. In its most basic form, a parent might read a page or two of a living book and then ask the child to respond back with what they can remember. Parents should discourage kids from simply repeating exactly what they just heard and instead encourage them to use their own words, and to also include their opinions or feelings about the passage as well.

Other ways to encourage narration is to ask them to answer questions about the story or exercise they have just completed. When children know they will be narrating the story back,  then tend to take a much more active role in their learning. They pay greater attention to the content, think more deeply about it, and invest in relating to the passage. 

Where to Start

As you begin using narration with your child, understand that it will not come easily at first and that like anything else, it is an acquired skill. It might help to begin working with your child by having them narrate everyday aspects of their lives.  Perhaps they can give you an overview of their day to start. 

As they progress, narration activities can become more complex. Ask your child to pick out one good thing and one bad thing that happened to them today, to come up with three things they accomplished, or to identify something that they learned.  As your child builds and improves upon their skills, these activities can be transferred to their studies. Literature and nature are two of the easiest subjects to begin with because of the richness of storytelling in literature, and the awe and inspiration that comes with nature study.  

Over time and as your child becomes comfortable with the concept of narration, begin to mix it up! Have your child experiment with narration in new and unique ways to supplement verbal skills, using art, drama, and even music to capture and share their ideas in fun and exciting ways.  

At Enriched at Home, our monthly enrichment kit includes unique parental prompts and ideas for furthering the narration skills of your children each month. Most of our exercises include show-and-tell or narration activities in order to ensure children are fully engaged in their learnings and as a way to encourage and foster deeper and more complex communications between parent and child.

Join us at Enriched at Home and help your children engage in a deeper way with inspiring books, nutrition, and nature exercises. Our monthly enrichment kits provide a wonderful backdrop for children to consider what they have just learned, drill down to the most important parts, and practice verbalizing the key concepts!

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