Narration: The Art of Telling Back | Principles #14-15

In today’s episode I’m talking about the fourteenth and fifteenth principles of Charlotte Mason’s Twenty Principles. This principle focuses on narration: the art of telling back. Learn more in this episode!


Principle #14: “As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should “tell back” after a single reading or hearing; or should write on some part of what they have read”.

Principle #15: “A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarizing, and the like.”

Leading Thoughts

  1. Narration is the “telling back” of knowledge. The child doesn’t “parrot” information, but rather restates what he remembers in his own words.
  2. It leads to composition, and helps children build relationships.
  3. Every lesson is narrated by a child. From handwriting to math to Bible and History.
  4. Read, listen, narrate, repeat. Mother says “tell me about this” or “what do you remember?” it requires a very high level of thinking of actively listening, processing, and ordering information to form a complete sentence/narration.
  5. Only one reading of the material is required.
  6. Start small. Daily practice. Model narration.
  7. Types of narration: drawn, oral, written, dramatized.

Listen to the podcast above to hear more!


“…a conscious mental effort, from the scholar, the mental effort of telling again that which has been read or heard. That is how we all learn, we tell again, to ourselves if need be, the matter we wish to retain, the sermon, the lecture, the conversation. The method is as old as the mind of man, the distressful fact is that it has been made so little use of in general education” (A Philosophy of Education).


A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason

Know and Tell by Karen Glass

My blog post and video on Narration

(*some are affiliate links)

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Charlotte Mason Motherhood podcast. Thank you so much for listening!

  1. Mason, Charlotte. Home Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC, 2017.
  2. Mason, Charlotte. A Philosophy of Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC. 2017.

Join the Charlotte Mason Motherhood Community

Connect with like-minded homeschool moms. Get exclusive videos, monthly Q&A sessions, free downloads and more!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *