Hybrid Intervention to Facilitate Preschool Children's Narrative Development

Open Access
Author:
Xuan, Yue
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
August 10, 2006
Committee Members:
  • Keith E Nelson, Committee Chair
  • Carol Hammer, Committee Member
  • Judith Fran Kroll, Committee Member
  • Jeffrey G. Parker, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Intervention
  • narrative development
  • Preschool Children
Abstract:
Narrative skill is identified as a critical link to successful school achievement. A lot of descriptive studies have been done in this field but intervention studies are rare. The present research used a new hybrid intervention method which covered three domains of narrative development, linguistic complexity, evaluative information, and story grammar. Thirty children (mean age 4;6 years) participated in this study. Before and after the intervention, the children¡¯s skills were evaluated for language and in three different tasks of narrative ability. Fifteen children were assigned into the intervention group and the other 15 children who were closely matched with the intervention group on their pretest languages skills served as the control group. In six weeks, the 15 intervention children received 12 intervention sessions which lasted for 30 minutes each time. After the intervention, the intervention group showed improvement in all three narratives tasks that were employed. Specifically, they recalled more information and used more complex sentences in the story retelling task. The intervention group in the story telling task included more evaluative information and more story grammar components in their story narratives. The stories generated by the intervention group in the story telling task also included more complete episodes than the control group children did. For the personal narratives, the intervention group produced narratives which were more structurally complicated. In a sentence recalling subtest from the Clinical Evaluations of Language Fundamentals (CELF-preschool) as well as a composite language Z score, the intervention group received significantly higher score than the control group children. These results demonstrated preschool children¡¯s narrative development could be effectively facilitated by a hybrid intervention in a short time. At the theoretical level, this study emphasizes the importance for children¡¯s progress of providing challenges in multiple narrative components. Further, the intervention results support the theoretical notion that rapid narrative skill growth will occur when narrative challenges were interwoven dynamically with favorable emotional, motivational, and scaffolding conditions during adult-child interaction. Because narrative skills are important for reading and other academic activities, it is suggested that interventions such as the present hybrid intervention would be valuable tools in preschool and kindergarten curriculum.