How DO you really know what your children know?
When you use a myriad of living books around your house, reading is not the problem. Comprehension can be an entirely different thing.
I found Susan Chrisman’s talk on “How to Know what your Child Really Knows” to be incredibly helpful. Her seminar was full of practical and hands-on approaches to encouraging your children to communicate what they are learning.
Specifically, for the 6 and under crowd she encouraged playing “The Observation Game.” Have your child look at a view intently for a short period. After the given time, have them turn around and then tell you what they saw in as much detail as possible. This will help them develop their observation and detail skills, both of which are key in this early stage of life. I have also seen this suggested for studying great works of art.
Here are some of the other ideas for encouraging narration for this age: (6 -9 yr.)
- Draw a picture or a map
- Act out a story
- Build a Lego scene and reenact
- Act Out
- Ask your student “Tell me what you know ….”
- Have them list 6 things that they think YOU should know
- Pass a bean bag to tell the story (tell one piece then have your student provide the next and back)
- Write down a dictation from your student
- Make a timeline of figures or characters
- Make a diorama of the concept/idea/setting/story
- Teach the concept to a sibling
- Have children bring Dad up to date on what they are reading
One of the most helpful ideas that I took away from Susan’s talk was a “Narration Cube”. This cube has on its sides the words (or pictures) for plot, setting, your favorite part, theme, characters, and compare/contrast. Roll this dice and ask your student to provide the given information for a reading. You could play this daily or once a week to help them start forming their thoughts on a given book or subject. I know that we will definitely make one of these over the summer to use in our school for the Fall.
If you’re in the area, Susan will be speaking at other seminars here at NCHE this weekend. For more info on her talks, click HERE.
What a great start to this year’s conference!