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TV as storyteller: How exposure to television narratives impacts at-risk preschoolers

story knowledge and narrative skills

The Effects of Storytelling and Story Reading on the Oral Language Complexity and
Story Comprehension of Young Children

TV as storyteller: How exposure to television narratives impacts at-risk preschoolers

story knowledge and narrative skills

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of viewing different TV program
types and their effects on story knowledge and narrative skills. The authors of the article
suggest TV as one potential vehicle for increasing children literacy skills because it is
amenable for children from ethnic minority subgroups and socioeconomically disadvantaged
The research included 311 participants attending child care centres in the US. Children
were assigned to one of four viewing conditions no viewing, expository viewing, embedded
narrative viewing and traditional narrative viewing. An expository stimulus combines live
action and claymation vignettes to introduce preschoolers to the animal world. Embedded
narrative stimuli included a story within a story using flash animation over photo collage
backgrounds. Traditional narrative stimuli used a storybook format with dialogue which is
animated. All children were pre-tested and tested again after exposure to the stimuli. They
were given a set of three pictures unrelated to any videos seen and were asked to put pictures
in the correct order and then to tell a story based on those pictures to illustrate their story
knowledge. Narrative involvement, recall and comprehension were measured using wordless
picture book.
Research has shown that traditional and embedded narrative viewers achieve the
highest story knowledge scores while expository and non-viewers achieved lower scores. All
children obtained similar scores on narrative involvement. In narrative retelling, embedded
viewers gain the highest scores while traditional narrative viewers obtained the lowest scores.
Story knowledge scores were higher for those viewing either narrative type. In contrast,
viewing specific narrative types differentially affected the component skills of narrative
competence. Story retelling and identification of explicit story events were higher after repeat
viewing of embedded narratives while generating implicit story content was higher after
repeat viewing of traditional narratives.
This study showed that exposure to well developed educational programming can
increase early story knowledge skills as well as narrative skills for economically
disadvantaged preschoolers. Research demonstrated that narrative skills are a critical
component to the development of literacy and that these skills are both developed and
enhanced through exposure to well-structured stories.

The Effects of Storytelling and Story Reading on theOral Language

Complexity and Story Comprehensionof Young Children

The development of oral language is one of children's most majestic achievement that
manifest during the first five years of life. Teachers are those who can provide opportunities
for young children to play with language. Two ways they can do that are storytelling and story
reading. The purpose of this research was to determine how storytelling and story reading
impact the language development and story comprehension of young children from three to
five years of age. Story reading benefits children by providing them with acquisition of
language and literacy. They experience vocabulary growth and knowledge of handling book.
Storytelling require more visual imagination than story reading because there are no book
Study included 28 participants, three to four years old, separated in two groups. Group
A had all the stories told to them, group B had all the stories read to them. The research used
detailed language transcripts from participants responses to retelling stories and creating a
story using a wordless picture book. Analysts did the pre- and post-samples to determine
similarities and differences in language complexity and story comprehension. The presenters
shared 24 stories with the participants in both groups during the 15 week period. The research
assistant obtained oral language samples during an individual interview.
The language complexity is analysed with the computer software program SALT
(Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts). The techniques used to obtain oral language
samples were retelling a story using a wordless picture book. Analysts were also analysing
formal story conventions, such as beginning and ending. Research included the use of theme,
setting, moral, narrative, characters and sequence.
Analysis of the language samples showed positive gains in language complexity.
MLU, fluency and vocabulary diversity increased in storytelling and story reading in relation
to pre-samples. Increases were also found in formal endings, identifying the theme and the
moral of the story. Little difference was found between boys and girls. Based on the results of
the study, it was determined that the storytelling group performed better on the retelling, when
compared to the story reading group. The story reading group performed better when creating
the wordless picture book story.

In conclusion, both storytelling and story reading are beneficial to the development of
oral language complexity and story comprehension in young children. Since story reading is a
traditional activity in early childhood programs, this study indicates a benefit to adding a
storytelling component to literacy programs.


Isabell, R., Sobol, J., Lindauer, L., Lowrance, A. (2004). The Effects of Storytelling
and Story Reading on the Oral Language Complexity and Story Comprehension of

Young Children. In Early Childhood Education Journal (pp. 157-163)

Linebarger, D.L., Piotrowski, J.T. (2009). TV as storyteller: How exposure to
television narratives impacts at-riskpreschoolers story knowledge and narrative
skills. In British Journal of Development Psychology (pp. 47-69). Philadelphia:
Universitiy of Pennsylvania