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Thoughts on "Letter by H. W. Household"

I was really excited to read this letter written by the Secretary for Education for the county of Gloucester. Mr. Household directly states what narration is and what it is not; he gives corrections and he gives explanations. He really addresses some uncertainties with regard to narration and I found that it clarified some issues such as preparing a reading before narration, why narration is so important and how narrations can vary and change, especially as children move into the upper levels.

I found this letter while searching for more information about narration. I was particularly trying to uncover more about the practice of preparing a reading selection. There seems to be alternating views on whether it is appropriate for teachers to prepare a reading selection and, more specifically, how much preparation is appropriate. How much preparation is too much and how much is too little? This is the question which I hope to answer in another article.

Today I will stay focused on this letter and share some interesting quotes:

“Now the object of narration is to compel the child to perform the “act of knowing,” by which knowledge is acquired and assimilated.”

“Not only is narration not verbal memory, but reading and narration do not constitute the whole of the lesson. They are the kernel but not the whole fruit.”

“Again, the broad “Tell me what you have read,” which introduces narration, may well give place with these older children to more definite tasks; and thought-provoking questions (to be answered not orally but in writing) may be set-questions such as can only be tackled in the light of knowledge gained in recent lessons.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts about this article. I’ve retyped the letter in its entirety and it has been saved in a linked PDF file; I’ve titled it Letter by H. W. Household. This file and earlier PNEU articles which have been retyped can be found at the website under Notes and then under Charlotte Mason Resources.

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