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Grace McConnell, ABD, MA-Ed, MA-SLP, CCC-SLP Doctoral Candidate Department of Speech-Language-Hearing University of Kansas 2010 ASHA Convention

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What Are Narratives?

Narratives are the temporal sequencing of real or imaginary events (McCabe, 1991) Narrative is the principal manner children utilize to make sense of their experiences (Hymes, 1982) Successful narratives are a complex integration of the varied domains of language skills, including vocabulary, syntax, morphology, and pragmatics (McCabe & Rollins, 1994) Successful storytelling requires that all aspects of language be honed at the discourse level

The Role of Narratives in School

Ability to retell a narrative is a significant predictor of

academic success (Bishop & Edmundson, 1987; Fazio, Naremore, & Connell, 1996) Narrative plays a central role in education Tool of instruction Foundation of event knowledge Foster cognitive growth (Peterson, 1994)

Narratives and School Success

Children with early language delay continue in school

years to exhibit weaknesses in narrative story grammar structure evaluative information lexical complexity (Manhardt & Rescorla, 2002)
The consideration of narrative abilities in assessment and

intervention with very young children who are at risk for language learning difficulties is critical given the importance of narrative in future academic and social success (Boudreau, 2008).

Effects of Poverty
Children raised in poverty are at risk for language delay, jeopardizing successful academic achievement (Hart & Risley, 1995; Roseberry-McKibben, 2008) Vocabulary Grammar Narrative Skills A child from impoverished home may have fewer contexts and practice opportunities to develop narrative skills as

a more affluent child (Gutirrez-Clellen & Quinn, 1993).

Narrative Elicitation
Elicitation characteristics have been

demonstrated to significantly influence a child's production of a narrative (Ripich & Griffith, 1988; Schneider, 1996; Schneider & Dub, 2005; Spinillo & Pinto, 1994) Children are more sensitive at different ages to different elicitation methods (Schneider, 1996; Schneider & Dub, 2005)

Research Question
Are there differences between preschoolers from low and middle socioeconomic (SES) homes in their production of story grammar units, evaluative information, and lexical complexity in story retelling with pictures compared to story retelling without pictures?

Expected to find
The oral-with-pictures condition will provide more

support than the oral-only retell condition for preschoolers of both groups. Preschoolers from low-SES homes will not tell stories with as many story grammar units and evaluative elements or have as much lexical complexity as their mid-SES peers.

Methodology - Participants
56 children ages 4;0 5;0 Attend preschools in northeast Kansas Two groups based on socioeconomic status (SES) Low

Below poverty ($20,000/year/family of 4) Maternal education no higher than HS grad Above poverty but below $100,000/year Maternal education higher than HS grad but below the graduate level


Methodology - Participants
English the sole language of the home Hearing within normal limits Cognitive skills within normal limits Screened with KBIT-2 (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004) Language skills across language continuum Testing with CELF-P-2 (Wiig, Secord, & Semel, 2004) Testing with standardized measures accomplished individually during first session (~30 minutes)

Methodology - Stimuli
Equivalent story episodes from wordless picture book OOPS by Mercer Mayer (1977) Balanced for story grammar units, evaluative information, and lexical complexity Two narratives elicited from children during second session following an introductory story (~15 minutes) Two experimental conditions Oral-only retell Oral retell with pictures Puppet used to act as nave listener





Data Measures
# of Story Grammar Units (Stein & Glenn, 1979;

Schneider, 1996) # of Evaluative Elements (Bamberg & Damrad-Frye, 1990) Lexical Complexity (Justice, Bowles, Kaderavek, Ukrainetz, Eisenberg, Gillam, 2006; Schneider, 2003)
C-units, total number of words, number of different words,

MLU-words, MLU-morphemes

~75% of data have been collected Mid-SES: n = 16 Low-SES: n = 25 Significant main effects for SES Group, F(1,39) =3.696, p<.05, p2 =.439 , with mid-SES group performing more robustly than the low-SES group Elicitation Method, F(1,39)=3.617, p<.05, p2 =.434, with subjects performing more proficiently under the picturesupported retell condition than the oral-only retell Both SES and Elicitation are approaching a medium effect size Insignificant interaction

Results SES Group

All measures are significant except for # Story Grammar Units Small to medium effect sizes; most robust for # Total Words, # Different Words, MLU-Words, MLUMorphemes
# Story Grammar Units F(1,39)= 3.847, p=.057 # Evaluative Elements F(1,39)= 7.027, p<.05*, p2 =.153 # C-Units # Total Words # Different Words MLU Words MLU Morphemes

F(1,39)= 4.389, p<.05*, p2 =.101 F(1,39)= 9.952, p<.05*, p2 = .203 F(1,39)= 9.989, p<.05*, p2 =.204 F(1,39)=14.643, p<.05*, p2 =.273 F(1,39)=13.524, p<.05*, p2 =257

Results Elicitation Method

All measures are significant Small to medium effect sizes; most robust for # Story Grammar Units, # C-Units, # Total Words, # Different Words
# Story Grammar Units F(1,39)=16.847, p<.05*, p2

=.302 # Evaluative Elements F(1,39)= 6.849, p<.05*, p2 =.149 # C-Units F(1,39)=17.157, p<.05*, p2 =.306 # Total Words F(1,39)=22.283, p<.05*, p2 =.364 # Different Words F(1,39)=21.271, p<.05*, p2 =.353 MLU Words F(1,39)= 8.870, p<.05*, p2 =.185 MLU Morphemes F(1,39)= 7.908, p<.05*, p2 =.169

Results Summary
Differences are seen between preschoolers from low

and middle socio-economic homes in their production of their narrative retells. These differences are most notable in terms of lexical complexity measures of total number of words, number of different words, and MLU. Differences are seen in the narrative retells of preschoolers when elicited using pictures as compared with oral-only. These differences are most notable in terms of story grammar units, number of C-units, total number of words, and number of different words.

Clinical Implications
Narrative retells may be a useful clinical tool for exploring the language skills of 4-year-old preschool children Use wordless picture books along with an oral model Children from low-SES homes may perform more poorly as a result of lower language skills Potentially a quick tool to initially assessment and then monitor progress of narrative skills



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