Having a hard time understanding Spanish? Narration is a way to grow your ability to understand others and respond clearly. Use the narration prompts printable as a guide for your next read aloud time.
I got the phone call no mother ever wants. The paramedic said, “M’am your son has been hit by a car.” Instant panic rushed through my body. My mind pictured him flying through the air. I just wanted to know – Is he okay… what happened?
I jumped in my car to handle the situation. Turning around the corner, the flashing lights from a fire truck and five police cars led me to him. He showed me his injuries and his cracked skateboard. Thank God, he was alive and conscious.
Still that one question again – what happened? I needed to know the story.
This is the essence of narration, asking questions to understand the facts. I needed to make sense of the accident to help him the best and make decisions. Later, this becomes a story to share over the years.
Spanish Reading Narration
My homeschooling journey began with lots of read aloud books and narration. Since my oldest was not ready to learn how to read, I read aloud a lot to him. The books gave him a great source of language and how it’s used properly. Afterwards, I asked questions and we would retell the events and facts from the book.
It is such a natural way to learn language. A read aloud book is the source of vocabulary and language use. And narration is an opportunity to show reading comprehension and to practice speaking.
Narration in Life
Without realizing it, people narrate all the time. Every conversation is some form of a story or report. When someone asks “how was your day?”, they are prompting you to narrate.
Some jobs are pure narration – journalism, analysts, brokers, bankers, social workers, secretaries, executives. At home, we talk about the latest events in our lives. Heck, look at this post, that’s what I am doing right now. Narration is a part of daily life, not just an academic concept.
We all love a great story and to be well informed. Curiosity is a part of being human. We are all searching for answers in order to make sense of everything.
So, narration of your reading is a great way to practice for everyday conversations without having to invent the content. The book provides the words for you to use. You get to focus on speaking.
So what exactly is a narration as a reading activity?
Narration as a reading activity is storytelling or reporting. This means we repeat the events and facts from the read aloud book. The person who reads aloud asks the listeners a question about the reading. The listener, then becomes the speaker and tells the story or facts.
The center of narration is a read aloud book. Every book has a different format, genre, structure and style. They can be fact or fiction.
There are so many different types of narratives. Some are stories with background, characters and plot. Others are informational texts with facts and supporting details. I’ve listed some of their types:
account, biography, chronicle, chronology, commentary, history, narrative, record, report, story, epic, saga, tale, romance, recital, recitation, testimonial, journal, mystery, memoir, romance or case study.
Later on, I will detail the features of both narrative stories and informational texts.
Narration as a Read Aloud Activity
First, let’s see exactly what narration is as a reading activity. The three benefits of narration are to test reading comprehension, to grow vocabulary and to practice speaking Spanish.
The purpose is to learn Spanish by retelling the story and facts from a read aloud book. That’s right narration is to repeat what you read. That simple. This is great activity for a homeschool Spanish program and independent learners or groups.
On a practical level, I will show you exactly what a narration activity looks like.
Example of Narrating from Reading
To illustrate what narration is, I selected this short fable, Las moscas, as a read aloud source text. It is a perfect example, because the language is simple and it has an illustration. In two sentences and a final message, it tells a complete story with plot and setting.
First, read the text aloud. If you need a guide for pronunciation, look HERE:
Get the Spanish Sounds Bookmark, a handy tool to keep in your Spanish read aloud book.
excerpt from La fabula a traves del tiempo. p. 402, Editorial Sopena, 1978.
Next, give a narration prompt to the listeners (and you too). A couple basic ones to test reading comprehension are —
¿Qué pasó? What happened?
Cuenta me sobre… las moscas… Tell me about… the flies…
Finally, each listener retells the story or information. Narrations are extremely adaptable for every skill level. As a group, each listener benefits from the same source. The easier the text the better. Here are some possible narrations based on listening and speaking skill level —
repeats words or phrases
dos mil moscas, murieron, corazones, perecen, vicio, panal de miel
combines words into sentence
Las moscas murieron en la miel y pastel.
refines message with word choice, sentence structures and stylistic techniques
Las moscas tenían hambre. murieron. Todas quedaron atrapados en los dulces pegajosos y murieron. Nos dan un ejemplo del peligro del vicio.
What would you say? ¿Qué dirías? Post your narration in the comments section below.
Narration in Read Aloud Time
As you can see from the example, narration is a powerful language activity. It tests reading comprehension. I mean, you can only retell the details of the story, because you were listening and learning new words. The whole purpose is to develop listening and then speaking skills.
I say the more you read aloud the better. And the more you narrate, you will have plenty of speaking practice. Get all the details about how to read aloud and different reading activities
you can do in a short amount of time.
Asking questions adds to the effectiveness of the reading time. At pivotal moments, a well timed question will stir curiosity and engage the listeners. You can ask a question before, during or after reading.
Before – to remember previous events and predict future events
During – catch attention of important change in direction, example: cliffhanger
After – to sum up the story or information, give opinion or prediction
I have a helpful tool that takes all the guesswork out of what narration questions to ask. This FREE list of Narration Prompts is my gift for you to