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What Works!


May 2010 • VOL. 32 NO. 4

Catts & Kamhi. &Weismer. interventions can be delivered in preschool to enhance children’s oral language and story comprehension skills (Skarakis-Doyle & Dempsey.Intervention Narrative Intervention for Preschool Classes Trina D. 26 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator . 2008). Narrative language (storytelling) is one type of oral language that is specifically linked to reading. Petersen. Adlof. 2006. Fey. Early narrative language has been identified as one of the best predictors of later reading comprehension performance (Catts. 1998). Speece. Whitehurst & Lonigan. & Tomblin. 1999. 2002. Zhang. Roth. 1986. Utah State University and Douglas B. Tomblin. Rather than waiting until children begin to struggle with reading comprehension. Spencer. University of Wyoming Narrative Intervention for Preschool Classrooms A preponderance of evidence documents the importance of language skills for reading comprehension (Catts. Catts. Fey. & Cooper.

Teacher uses narrative intervention feasible as a multi-tiered strategy. corresponding Hemphill. 1) and models the story. Gillam. Although not exactly the same. 1987). In narrative intervention. Problem = thumbs down. feeling. & Schmidek. and verbal prompting. many effective instructional practices such as modeling. Narrative (2010) and for early childhood narrative assessment and language is used whenever a child presents an account intervention tools visit www. “What are the parts of the story?” Teacher uses a signal to help students respond The primary components of narrative intervention together. 2001. Feagans & 2010. success (Bishop & Edmonson. see Gillam and Gillam (Johnston. Peterson. 1990). However. professionals and researchers have imple. identifies the main parts of the story and uses icons teachers. 1986). model. When the group has told all parts of the story. Miller. Dickinson & McCabe. shaping. and 70% of their narrative interactions (see Figure 2) to represent them.. she Children use narrative language to interact with parents. icons. then supports the children telling the same story using pictures. The narrative intervention steps presented here are drawn from a program still in development called Continued on page 28 The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 27 . how they scraped their knee. Teacher models the story the day or fictional stories in routine activities such as again while students listen to the story and make a book reading or in a writing center. an initiating event such as a problem or the high point of the story. Camp. Action = open hand intervention is mounting and specific efforts have moves across body. in press) and delivered it to Step 3: Co-Telling. 1979. McGillivray. ending. a signal to help students respond together to repeat the part we have adapted procedures from previous research on of the story. feelings. Gillam. This Large Group Narrative Intervention means that when children tell what they ate for dinner the previous night. recent interest in applying students have covertly formed an answer. provides support if necessary. 2000. fictional and personal) follow a similar structure. and Ending = thumbs up). & van the teacher summarizes the story to provide a cohesive Kleek. actions. Petersen. Story Champs. a teacher models telling stories while identifying the main parts. of causally related events in temporal order (Hughes. Peterson.& Zhang 2002. Once the teacher introduces the narrative structure. in press) to be suitable for classrooms. narrative intervention (e. & Peña. After all Schneider. 2000). and an ending (Hughes et al. or about the Step 1: Model. For more detailed information on skills allow children to engage their peers socially narrative assessment and treatment. Gillam. Hayward & Schneider. but also adequate narrative within a RTI framework. prompting. McCabe & Marshall. which includes stories. 2001. Teacher displays five pictures (see Figure birthday party they attended. 2010). Griffin.. she can support chil- dren’s personal stories as they naturally occur throughout Step 2: Active Listening. then restates or rephrases dence-based interventions appropriate for Tier II. 1987...g. Gestures is implemented in a game-like fashion to Traditionally. 1997. enhance active listening. different genres of stories (e. and peers. 2008. Not only does narrative language as a general guide for delivering narrative intervention support literacy development. frequent opportunities to respond. McFadden. & Wolf. For example.” include instruction on the important parts of a story and frequent practice telling and retelling stories. 1997. action. in press) about the parts of the story beginning with character and or small groups of two or three children (Hayward & proceeding through the other parts of the story. at least one character.g. corresponding gesture when the teacher tells each part (i. they use narrative language.. 1995. Story been made to integrate procedures into classrooms. Petersen et al. & Gillam. 2004) and general academic pictures. To make student’s answer and models it for the group. teacher asks the students. consist of personal stories (Preece. mented narrative intervention with children with language impairments (Petersen. Stein & Glenn. Teacher childhood education has forced educators to seek evi. 2006). and games (Spencer. problem. Teacher asks the students to think individuals (Petersen. As she presents the story. These steps can be used Applebaum.languagedynamicsgroup. Most every story includes a setting. Character = hand on head. “ Spencer & Slocum. The research supporting early childhood narrative Feeling = finger touching near eye. the teacher calls the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework to early on an individual student to tell a part of the story. icons. & Slocum. and positive feedback are incorporated. Spencer.e. After modeling the story. 1990).

be available in the classroom for children to sequence on their own or with a friend. the first student example. In this manner. First one child tells the the children such as looking for lost articles of clothing. 1998). the stories. story while the partner monitors and/or helps the narrator tell playing a game. For example. Children can narrate the story while the teacher transcribes it onto their pictures. Step 1: Modeling. Following the retell the complete story. • Ask the students to make up a story using the icons to tells to promote increasingly independent narration. provides individualized support to the narrator. specific vocabulary. Each child takes a turn retelling the story. day. During guide the inclusion of all the parts. Below are a number of suggestions for integrating narrative activities into preschool classrooms.Narrative Intervention for Preschool Classes Step 4: Independent Retelling. the students gather in ask if the children have experienced something similar and the group area. Along with other emergent literacy skills. As children retell individually. the teacher may choose to prompt the • When reading books. teachers can ask factual questions inclusion of language targets other than the parts of the such as “Who is the character in this book?” and “What story such as correct pronoun usage. In order to facilitate generalization to children’s personal 28 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator . Teacher encourages everyone to clap for then support their telling of personal stories. small group narrative instruction provides a more intense program in which teachers tailor • Use puppets and role-playing to engage the students in it to fit the needs of the students. After the group has retold the story. or visiting the doctor. While telling the • Encourage picture stories. is his problem?” Teachers can also ask inferential or complex language that focuses on causal and temporal questions such as “How do you think he feels?” terms. as prompts. the others play story gestures stick figure pictures to go along with the student- (described above) to promote active listening. For support can be withdrawn. With each retell. narration can help build a foundation for later reading comprehension and can easily be embedded into the preschool day. When steps of large or small group intervention. The teacher can tell a story and have the summarizes it to present an additional cohesive model students arrange the pictures in order. the teacher pictures. Pictures can also before students retell the story independently. Each of the children and the teacher are assigned a part of the story to tell and in sequence tell • Provide opportunities for story sequencing using their part. The icons can be removed for subsequent re- Narrative language is important for social and academic development and can be addressed prior to kindergarten. Students separate into pairs stories. Teacher displays five pictures on a table in front of students and models the story. Throughout the themselves and their friends who are all story champs. Step 3: Retelling and Active Listening. out icons that correspond to each part. The teacher generated stories (Ukrainetz. modeled stories should be about events familiar to to practice retelling to each other. the teacher can ask the students to make up an tells the story with the pictures and the icons available and appropriate action and ending to a story about Harry who the next student retells the story with only the icons to serve is mad because Michael is playing with one of his toys. the teacher can all the students have retold the story. the teacher identifies the parts of the story and lays draw a picture to correspond to each part of the story. where children or the teacher story. Step 2: Co-Telling. Then. the partners switch roles. teachers can reinforce the narrative structure and encourage other activities that will further develop their Small Group Narrative Intervention language skills. The teacher can draw students’ individual retells. an element of visual • Integrate story structure into social skills lessons.

A brief introduction to narrative struc- ture. • Use recent experiences the whole class shared such as field trips. • Cover the words to a simple picture book and ask the students to make up the story to go with the pictures. seems to expose numerous opportunities for practice and further literacy development. • Prepare the students to tell their parents about an event that occurred at school that day. Send home pictures of a story used in class for students to practice retelling it to their parents. Narrative language is important for social and academic development and can be addressed prior to kindergarten. we have observed that young children enjoy the game-like procedures and independently seek occasions to tell stories. Have them practice with you before they leave for home. or a special group project to facilitate story retells. In addition to a growing body of research support. and listen to stories. References available upon request from the Utah Personnel Development Center Graphics copyright 2010. Spencer and Petersen. a class visitor. narration can help build a foundation for later reading comprehension and can easily be embedded into the preschool day. The teacher can tell a personal story about something that happened that morning and ask the students to tell about their morning. the targeted large group or small group formats described here are suitable for Tier II instruction within an RTI model. • Use snack time as an opportunity to tell personal stories. it will be easier for her to support student retells of the event. draw stories. can prepare children for successful reading experiences. When the teacher has also shared the experience. We believe that narrative language is a valuable emergent literacy skill that. Additionally. n The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 29 . Along with other emergent literacy skills. via narrative intervention. if addressed in preschool.