Thursday, July 30, 2015

Charlotte Mason Composition: What's a Precis?


Charlotte Mason's Form III students wrote something called a precis. But what's that?

A precis (pronounced pray-see) is:
an abstract or epitome of the essential facts or statements of a work, retaining the order of the original               - A Handbook to Literature by Harmon & Hollman
The precis is a summary of a whole work, which means that a child needs to know how to summarize before attempting this composition task. (One of the misunderstandings out there is that the whole of Mason's composition pedagogy was just writing narrations, longer and longer narrations. But this isn't true. CM composition tasks, of course, get more complex as a student gets older.)

oral narration --> written narration --> summary --> precis

Again, a precis is written after reading a whole work, while a narration and a summary can be written after reading only part of a book. So, in some ways, it's similar to a book report. (In a lot of ways it's very different, but let's use the idea of a book report because we all know what that is.)

There are several ways to write precis (plural of precis is pronounced pray-seez), and I'm working on some future posts about this.

What about you? Do you have your child write precis?

8 comments:

  1. Very interesting.

    My kids have never written one. I've actually only seen the word but never knew what it meant. Looking forward to reading more of what you write about this.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Elisabeth!

      Looking forward to sharing! :)

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  2. i just read something about this at commonroom! i had read the word from CM, but i really hadn't looked into it further. thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. I'd read her post too! I think it's interesting how she gave it an update for the 21st century. :)

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  3. Thanks for the lesson. I love learning more about Charlotte Mason. She was amazing.
    Blessings, Dawn

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    1. My pleasure... Me too!... and I agree! :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Very interesting! I'm not familiar with this at all!

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    1. Cool! I'm glad I was able to share something new. :)

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