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Jason Barney’s A Classical Guide to Narration — coming in September

CiRCE Books is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of A Classical Guide to Narration by Jason Barney. Due out in September 2020, Barney’s book is a practical exploration of how Charlotte Mason’s approach to the art and skill of narration might be adopted in modern classical education settings. Full of step-by-step advice for how to implement narration in the classical school classroom, the book also presents the historical context of narration alongside contemporary studies that reveal its immense value for young developing minds. As such, the book offers a contemplative and useful companion piece to modern classics like Karen Glass’ Know and Tell.

Says Barney, “I wrote A Classical Guide to Narration to distill everything I’ve learned about the practice of narration through more than a decade of using it myself in the classroom and training teachers. My hope is that the book will help a generation of classical educators put to rest for good the cram-test-forget dragon that is endemic to modern education. By exploring the history of narration and its relationship to the liberal arts tradition, the book sets Charlotte Mason’s powerful practice on solid footing for wider adoption in the classical renewal movement.”

A Classical Guide to Narration, which includes a foreword from Kevin Clark (co-author of The Liberal Arts Tradition), will be available for pre-order in late August. Please note: While this book is written by a classroom teacher and is thus especially geared towards classroom teachers, the principles and practices found in it are widely applicable.


“Wow! I have often commended Jason Barney’s teaching on narration, but this book reaches new heights. Were teachers to implement it as Jason describes, this practice of narration could transform education throughout the world. Do you want your students to love reading? To love literature? To love thinking deeply? Then this is a must-read book. The latest technologies and fads will always compete for our attention as educators. But Barney has rediscovered a well-worn path by which teachers can lead their students farther up and deeper into the pied beauty of God’s rich pageant of the real. I recommend this book to educators at all levels—from Kindergarten teachers to University Professors.”

–Ravi Jain, co-author of The Liberal Arts Tradition

“For every reader who has adored Karen Glass’s Know and Tell: The Art of Narration and wants to learn more—even more of the philosophy behind why narration works, how it is not merely good pedagogy but spiritual practice, and more on how to implement narration into the trivium and quadrivium—Jason Barney’s A Classical Guide to Narration must be the next read.”

— Jessica Hooten Wilson, Louise Cowan Scholar in Residence at the University of Dallas in the Classical Education and Humanities Graduate Program

“While Classical educators have no lack of great works at their disposal, they often suffer from an absence of practical and effective pedagogy to bring those works alive. But no more! In a world of hyper distraction, the practice of narration forms the habit of “attending” in students which builds the skill of engaging the content in full. Often misunderstood and relegated to grammar school classrooms by academics, narration is a hidden gem. Barney’s book is for those willing to take a deeper look. Not only does he take the reader on an historic journey of the great educators and philosophers in the classical liberal arts tradition, but he rightly anchors narration in the writings of educator Charlotte Mason who understood the transformational power of narration to form habits. Mason’s discoveries of narration are reinforced by modern day brain science researching confirming the effectiveness of narration. This important book ultimately demonstrates how narration complements the way God wired our minds. It should be in the hands of every teacher to awaken the soul and create a compelling classroom environment for joyful discovery. Anyone taking seriously the art and craft of teaching in a K-12 Classical Christian school and who is looking for an antidote to the cram, jam and forget methodologies would do well to read Jason Barney’s book and rediscover this time-tested tool called narration.”

— Rev. Dr. W. Davies Owens, Executive Director, Society for Classical Learning

“Over the last twenty years, thousands of Ambleside students have proven the truth of Charlotte Mason’s claim that narration is the “ground plan” of a child’s education. Jason Barney does a masterful job of introducing this essential pedagogical task to the world of classical Christian education.”

Bill and Maryellen Marschke St Cyr, Founders, Ambleside Schools International

About Jason Barney

Jason Barney serves as the Principal of Coram Deo Academy in Carmel, IN. In 2012 he was awarded the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Hillsdale College. He completed his MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College, where he received The Tenney Award in New Testament Studies. Before joining Coram Deo Jason Barney served as the Academic Dean at Clapham School, a classical Christian school in Wheaton, IL. In addition to his administrative responsibilities in strategy, philosophy and faculty training, Jason has taught courses from 3rd-12th grades in Latin, Humanities, Math and Science, and Senior Thesis. He regularly speaks at events and conferences, including SCL, ACCS and the CiRCE Institute. He recently published The Joy of Learning: Finding Flow Through Classical Education. Jason blogs regularly on ancient wisdom for the modern era at

To view Jason’s presentation about narration at our recent virtual conference please click here.

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