What I love about the use of narration is it IS assessment. If you ask a class or a student to tell you what they just learned from the book, the conversation, the topic, you will know if they are ready to have a conversation, you will know what conversation you can have, you will know what you may need to review, and you will know what they misunderstand. I think it's David Hicks that says not to answer a question that hasn't been asked. Well, you ought not ask a question about something a student doesn't understand! When once my students have narrated, I look for holes and see if they just forgot or they didn't understand something by using questions. When once I see where we all stand, then I can begin our conversation, and they are none the wiser. They haven't been intimidated into feeling like they don't know enough or the "right" things.