I buy into a lot of Susan Wise Bauer's reasoning in The Well-Trained Mind, but I also do not buy into a lot of her reasoning. We do both think that the ability to summarize well is important even for young children, but I think that I see it more directly as an analytical skill than Bauer does, and Bauer sees it more directly as a composition skill than I do. We'll meet up again in several years with our emphases on composition AND critical analysis, but I've seen Bauer's curriculum vitae and I can guarantee that we've both had the experience of teaching college students who, bless their hearts, could not come up with an analytical idea nor effectively express it if they had it to save their lives, and we want nothing like that intellectual hobbling for our own children.
Narrating is a prerequisite to summarizing; narration is simply a reading comprehension exercise, but a summary is also analytical. Willow and Sydney narrate, to encourage them to understand and remember the entire work in detail. When they're older, they'll be required to prioritize and organize the work, sorting through for a logical progression of ideas under an overarching theme.
For now, though, they get to use puppets!
Funny fonts are also encouraged:
Willow dictated this to me while I typed it, and then she printed it in a funny font of her choosing and added it to our Egyptian Gods and Goddesses book, which we're liking a lot these days.
That book is going to contain a LOT of narrations before it's bound!