Why Narrating from Notes (in Middle & High School) Is a Such Good Idea


Who Says Narration Is Only for Little Kids?

Written and oral narration are perfect study tools for improving understanding for homeschool preteens and teens, too; however, you have to reverse the process for those kids doing high school level work.

For the 13-18 year old home school scholar, written narration usually comes before oral narration, so have him write it before he tells it.

Start with Note-Taking

While your high school teen  is reading a text or watching a video lecture, have him take comprehensive notes.   Capture the main points of the reading or video using a formal roman numeral outline, a mind map, branching, bubble charts, margin annotations, or any number of note-taking methods.

Drawing diagrams to help reinforce understanding of complex concepts like parts of a muscle or a fictional plot line provides an even better layer of learning.  Just make sure he writes down what he’s learning first.

And if your teen is computer-savvy and watches online lectures, he could use an electronic note-taking program like EverNote, Microsoft OneNote, or google KEEP to quickly create, access, and organize his notes while he’s watching the lecture!

Then Write Your Summary

Once your homeschool high school teen has completed his notes, he is now ready to reconstruct his thoughts by writing an abstract or summary of his interpretation.  In my experience with my own kids, a typical high school abstract from a 30 minute lecture will run 2-3 paragraphs which is about a page to a page and a half of handwritten text.

Lastly, Narrate Your Understanding

After the written narration is complete, it is time to give an oral narration.  Share the learning with a parent or sibling through a casual conversation or a formal briefing.  Be prepared for the 5W + 1H questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how).

Explaining his understanding to another person will improve knowledge retention and clarification of any areas that he doesn’t fully understand.  If there are holes in his understanding, have him go back and reread the text or watch that portion of the video.

Just imagine how valuable this written narration inventory will be if you have your homeschool  high school teen take notes, write a summary, and give an oral narration of his understanding for every chapter or lecture!  You’ll have a complete portfolio of his intellectual and academic progress, and best of all, the regular act of writing and reciting what he’s learning will naturally discipline him over time so that his study skills will be stellar before he gets to college.

Happy note-taking,

Best Note Taking Templates

P.S. If you’re looking for a fantastic note taking templates check out my recommendations here.

writing course for your middle or high school student, check out my Creative Writing I:  Narrative Fiction course.  Start anytime, and let your teen learn the secrets of writing like a novelist.

Diane Lockman
Diane Lockman
Articles: 37

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