Lesson 4: Avoiding Roadblocks, Potholes, and Detours


In Part 3, we outlined 6 steps in our Step-by-Step Notebooking Practice.

To make this even more simple, consider 2 possible workflows to notebooking:

  1. Read, narrate, write, add something visual.
  2. Read, narrate, add something visual, write.

That’s it!

With that said, there are some potential problems you may run into as you start down this road of notebooking. The tips below can help you avoid them.

Notebooking Roadblocks, Potholes, and Detours


You have a large family and it seems kids aren’t paying attention when it’s not their turn to narrate. When it comes time to write, they give you a blank stare.

Tag-team narration! Choose one child to start the narration and then say “pause” at a good stopping point. Then, choose another child to continue where he left off. Keeps them on their toes!


When reading through my child’s notebooking page, I find they’ve bumped facts around or got them altogether wrong!

When this happens, it’s usually because they didn’t know the facts/story well enough before writing them down. It is so important to develop the skill of narration. Starting with oral narrations in the beginning teaches them to pay attention, order the events in their head, make connections, etc. so that it becomes more and more natural with the written narration.Now, this doesn’t mean EVERYTHING has to be memorized from the reading! Encourage note taking, lists, and discussion after your readings to help them with their notebooking assignments.


The kids keep wanting to go back to the book while they are writing.You may be thinking, “Why is this a problem?” The problem is they are depending too much on the book and detouring from the information they captured in their brain.

When this happens to us, it’s usually because we didn’t do enough oral narrations after the reading or there was too much time in between the oral narration and the writing. To fix this initial instance, allow them to reread the information, narrate, and then go back to writing. In the future, either spend more time on the oral narrations or shorten the time between oral narrations and writing.

Why so much emphasis on oral narrations?

I emphasize oral narrations so much in the beginning because this is not typically a skill we’ve developed in our kids and it is SUCH an important skill. As they get better with oral narrations, you’ll be able to do less of these and go straight to the notebooking.


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