Saturday, September 28, 2013

Written Narrations YR5/YR6

Here are some samples of YR5/YR6 written narrations from the past calendar year. There are spelling errors, but for the sake of focusing on the composition I'm correcting them as I type. The grammar I'm leaving as is. I imagine these are shorter than the average written narrations at this age, but in a composition book they fill about a half to a full page, which we'll increase this year. I have taken things slower than most when it comes to writing, mostly because I didn't really know what she should be doing or what I should be teaching, but I'm pretty confident that she'll manage well with a little focused work this year.

The instructions I gave her for her written narrations were to *not* focus on grammar or spelling, but to just write her narration as she might speak it. Once she was comfortable writing them, we began working on the basic requirements - make sure you capitalize all sentences and proper nouns and end every sentence with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark.

Additionally I cover things like spelling and how to use quotation marks, form paragraphs, etc. very briefly on the board during the week as I see the need in her written narrations. She picks things up very quickly and shows it well in her dictations where she's not in a rush to get her thoughts out on to paper. In YR9 she'll be reading through The Elements of Style.

While there is nothing spectacular in these narrations, yes, we are pretty average, I'm thankful that she can convey a decent thought and that we haven't had to spend hours working on composition. While I'm still not exactly clear on how Charlotte Mason handled composition, nor am I sure she composed very well herself, I'm pleased with the way things have gone. How about you? How do you handle composition? 

Franz Josef Haydn

Haydn loved music. They lived in a very small house, even though it was small, and even though they had a big family they did not seem to care and they loved each other. Haydn's father sang in the church choir even though he did not know one note from the other. By the time Haydn was six he was leading the church choir. Even though he was not very loud he was a very good singer. His mother played the violin.

School of the Woods

The mother otter enticed her little baby otters on to her back. Before they knew what was going on they were in the water and trying to swim. The mother was swimming and playing in the water but the little otters crawled out and went into their den. As much as the mother tried to coax them out of the den they would not come.

David Livingstone

They came upon a bush woman (in Africa) captured her and for a few beads she told Livingstone and Oswell where water was (for they had been suffering from lack of water.) After walking for a long time they came upon a lake but could not cross it and did not have a boat or a raft to cross it.

The Hobbit

They did not tell stories or sing that day (though the weather improved,) or the next day, or the next. Finally they came to a river, its banks were very slippery and steep. They could see a mountain in front of them about a days journey away. "Is that where Smaug is?" asked Bilbo. "No you have to go way past that to get to Smaug's mountain." said Thorin.

Albert Einstein

Albert never forgot what his father told him about the compass. On starry nights Albert would go in the back yard and look up at all the stars. He would think how beautiful they were, sometimes he would cry but he did not know why.

Albert hated school. The teachers were very harsh and strict. Albert thought school was so boring with all the memorizing they had to do. He day dreamed and was the bad boy in school because of it.

The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground lived a Hobbit. It was not a nasty wet dirty hole with worms at the ends, and a oozy smell about it, it was a comfortable little hobbit with a circle door painted green with a brass knob right in the middle. The hole was in the Hill as everybody around called it. It had a round little hall with lots of rooms. All the rooms on the left were nice rooms because they had windows looking out to the garden.

Bible Esther

One night the King could not sleep so he told his servants to read him the Book of memorable deeds and he read him how Mordecai saved the King from two guards who planned to kill him. The king asked what had been done to honor him the servant said "nothing my lord."

The Story of the World

Imagine you and your older brother and your mother and father lived in Pennsylvania and your father lost his job (like most other men around that time) so you an your family planned to move to Oregon where people could get a job money a house and food so you guys packed everything you would need and especially food instead of a horse you had a oxen because horse don't eat prairie grass but oxen do. And about half way there the oxen could not pull the wagon because it was too heavy so you threw out most of your toys furniture and other things!

Madam How Lady Why


"Who just coughed behind me?"

"Well why don't you look?"

"What is that? It looks like a black tooth sticking out of the water?"

"That is a whale my boy. They are not fish because he breathes air he can hold his breath for a long time. Some whales can hold their breath for over a hour!"

"Look at those Terns flying they are so pretty!"

Shakespeare - Taming of the Shrew

A rich gentleman went into a pub and found a drunk man asleep. The rich man called one of his serving men and said "We shall make a joke of him, put him in a rich bed and when he awakes you shall pretend that he is a great person." Yes master said all the serving men.

Carry a Big Stick

Theodore Roosevelt was born October 27, 1858.

In a huge crowd Teddy was getting ready to speak. Then all of a sudden someone shot him in his stomach. The crowd screamed running to kill the assassin but Teddy got up with all his might and yelled "Don't kill him but bring him to me."

So they did as he told them to he pulled himself up with all his might he got up for his speech and he said "I have been shot but that will not stop me from saying my speech." The ambulance came but he just waved his hand weakly he said "I will either die speaking or I will die after my speech but I will not go to the hospital before I finish my speech!"

Age of Fable

A man (I forgot his name) was given an instrument by his father. He played so well that he even softened the rocks and trees. He married a very pretty girl and of course I forgot her name and one day she was in the forest and a man saw her and he loved her. Love drew him to her and she ran away as fast as she could and by accident stepped on a very poisonous snake and she died.

Her husband heartbroken went to pluto to ask her life back. He past many ghosts as he entered. He played on his instrument the sad song of her death. Pluto softened by his sad song gave back her life but he said "Do not look at her until they got home" So they walked for a long while he in front and she in back but in his forgetfulness he looked back at her and she died again!


Dion the ruler of that place hired his favorite man to go and make sure that no one was trying to kill or do anything bad to Dion. In that job the man was able to act as if he was part of the bad plot. The man hated Dion but acted as if he loved him so he made a plot to kill Dion so he got together some of Dion's soldiers and killed Dion. They took Dion's wives and put them in prison. In prison one of his wives gave birth to a baby boy. The man who plotted to kill Dion took the two wives and brought them on a ship pretending to keep them safe he cast them overboard and they drowned.

Abraham Lincoln's World

One night in a beer garden in Berlin Bismarck overheard a man at the next table talking about diminishing the royal family (the King and Queen of Persia and their family) Bismarck jumped to his feet out of this house! If you are not out by the time I finish this beer I'll shatter it on your head! Then he quietly finished his beer and the man was still there so Bismarck shattered the bottle on his head! The man shouted with pain! Then Bismarck quietly asked the waiter how much the glass was.

Oliver Twist

A man chanced to come by a gate that read Oliver Twist for sale. Oliver lived in a board and was being sold because once he asked for more grool. So they showed Oliver to the man and the man was just about to sign the contract when Oliver started to tremble and cry. Why what is the matter asked the man? Oliver said he would rather have Mr. Bumble beat him or kill him or starve him or anything he liked but he would not go with the man! So the man said I will not buy him and said for them to keep and take good care of him. So he left Mr. Bumble astonished.

Bible Job 2

There was a day when all the angels came to worship God and Satan came before God and God said to Satan "Where have you been?" And Satan said "I have been all around the world and up and down" and God said to Satan "Have you considered Job? He is the most godly man on earth. You can do anything to him but take away his life." 


  1. Naomi, these are wonderful - thank you for sharing them here! It gives me a better idea of what I should be looking towards for my Yr6'er. I haven't done much with written narration, but she is quite proficient at oral narration. As I read through these, I wonder how many I should require of my student? She isn't really a reluctant writer or anything, but I should say that her handwriting is quite sloppy (I didn't even touch handwriting as she was coming up, working more along the lines of "as long as she gets it down". I am now regretting this choice, and am towing a different line for my Yr 3, Yr 1 and all other children coming along!

  2. Hi Sally! I notice my kids' handwriting can be really neat when they take time on it during copywork, but then sloppier when they're writing narrations. The goal is to get them into good writing *habits*, so we want to get them in the habit of always writing neatly by requiring it. I don't think CM would have pointed it out in their written narrations though. That's where you want them to focus on putting thought on paper. I think requiring the good writing in everything else - copywork, dictation, notes, math, etc. will go a long way towards developing good writing habits that would then reflect in their written narrations. Here's a quote of AO's Language Arts scope & sequence for YR4-6 (https://amblesideonline.org/LangArtsScopeSeq.shtml#4to6)

    "Written Narration begun around age 10-11. (Handwritten or typed narrations are fine. You should accept most written narrations without attempting to correct all the mistakes. Becoming proficient with written narration will take a couple of years. Begin with one written narration per week, and increase to 2, then 3, as your child is ready to do more writing. Once a month, perhaps, you may want to edit and correct one narration.)"