Tickled Pink Today: Teaching Retelling and Narration with Technology, Voice Memo

I happen to have a daughter who learns visually.  Some of our homeschooling has been a bit challenging for her since we use Sonlight and it’s heavy reading/read aloud (though she’s an excellent reader she doesn’t love it yet).

I’ve decided that my main goal for her is that she understands how she learns and to apply that knowledge when learning new things…even if there are no pictures to see.  It’s been going okay so far but we’ve definitely been struggling with comprehension, retelling, and summarizing.


This is the time that she will develop a love or loath for learning.  This is the time she’s figuring herself out, how she learns, how she fits in, how she navigates her surroundings.  There’s so much that her 6 1/2 year old being has to accomplish every given minute and processing that information has got to be exhausting.

I could see her looking at me like I might actually be speaking a different language; staring at me like a  deer caught in headlights,  waiting for me to stop blinding her so she could focus.


And then I had an idea! VOICE MEMO ON MY iPHONE!  The process was painless and the light that shone in her eyes when she finished and we replayed her memo (HER RETELLING, NARRATION, SUMMARY!!!) was astounding to me!


So this is what I did:

1. She read a short story from I Can Read It! (Sonlight Curriculum).

2.  I asked her to tell me a few main points.

3.  I read her the same story, using my super-exciting-reading-voice

4.  I set up the voice memo

5.  I asked her several questions and upon her answer (in complete sentences, using the question in the answer) I would press record:

  •     Who is Matt?  Matt is a boy.
  •     What is Matt doing?  Matt is riding Sam the Ram.
  •     Who is Pam?  Pam is a girl.
  •     What is Pam doing?  Pam is trying to wake up Val the Horse.
  •     Who is Jan?  Jan is a girl.
  •     What is Jan doing?  Jan is driving Hal the Cab.
  •     What are they all doing?  They are all racing.
  •     Who wins the race?  Matt wins the race

When I finished asking and recording, I played back her retelling. It sounded like this:

Matt is a boy.  Matt is riding Sam the Ram.  Pam is a girl.  Pam is trying to wake up Val the Horse.  Jan is a girl.  Jan is driving Hal the Cab.  They are all racing.  Matt wins the race.

She now looked like she had won a medal of some sort! Face all aglow! This is obviously a guided method in retelling and our next steps will be to have her do this without me prompting questions.  I don’t have any idea how long we will be doing guided retellings but I will say, she “got it”.  She was proud of herself.  She looked focused and confident.  What more could I ask for?!

Tickled Pink Today,



4 thoughts on “Tickled Pink Today: Teaching Retelling and Narration with Technology, Voice Memo

    • Brynn, it has seriously changed her whole attitude! Plus technology is what kids like to engage in and that makes it even more fun. Hope some students will see how fun and easy retelling/summarizing/narrating can be 🙂

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