When you think back to school, do you remember the methods used to test your grasp of the information passed on to you? My memories are of tests with lots of multiple choice, True/False, fill-in-the-blank, and Q and A. My mind was pretty good at coming up with pneumonic devices to remember answers for a test. But it also knew that it would quickly forget the info once the test was over. I used to think I was really good at "school". But since I've started homeschooling, I suspicion I was actually a lazy learner. Many devices were in place to help me get good grades, but I did not learn (not during "school time" anyway) for the joy of it. Not for the life enrichment knowledge can bring.
Narration is a key Charlotte Mason element that helps a person cement information in the brain and make connections. A great introductory article can be read here. I wish I had loads of wisdom to share on this subject, but I feel sadly lacking in this area of home education. Elizabeth has gotten much better at narrating, especially since her brother began narration this year, and she enjoys a little competition. Jonathan is much better at retelling a story we've just read as opposed to a poem or Bible passage. Quite expected at his age though.
I really should change things up a bit: ask for a drawing or skit or something instead of the same ole' "Tell me what we just read about". Elizabeth did recently choose to do a simple Keynote presentation on a book she just finished. It was 4 slides long. Not as detailed as I would like, but narration isn't about what I want her to remember. It's about connections she made with the material. Some of her best "retellings" are when she'll stop me during a reading and make a comment which leads to an impromptu discussion. Love that. At any rate, our narrating is not perfect. But the knowledge is there for life. Not a temporary flitting to pass the test.