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Narrative skills in preschool and first grade children

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Maria Athansiou Kanellou, Eugenia Athansiou Korvesi, Asimina Ralli, Aggeliki Mouzaki, Fay Antoniou, Vasiliki Diamanti, Sophia Papaioannou
Maria Athansiou Kanellou, Eugenia Athansiou Korvesi, Asimina Ralli, Aggeliki Mouzaki, Fay Antoniou, Vasiliki Diamanti, Sophia Papaioannou

Abstract


The aim of the study was to investigate the developmental path of narrative skills of preschool and primary school children. Two hundred thirty seven Greek-speaking children from various regions of Greece participated in the study. They were separated in three age groups: 4-5, 5-6 and 6-7 years old. Retelling and narrative production skills were evaluated. Correlations between the two narrative skills were investigated. Four illustrated stories were used (two stories for retelling and two stories for narrative production).Children’s narratives were collected and transcribed from the recordings. Then, narratives were coded and assessed according to certain criteria: microstructure/ cohesion (conjunction and lexical cohesion) and macrostructure/ coherence (story grammar and temporal sequencing of actions and events). The findings revealed that narratives of older children tended to be better according to the story structure criteria in comparison to narratives produced by younger children. In addition, the qualitative analysis of children’s narratives demonstrated the different narrative levels (labeling, listing, connecting, sequencing and narrating) proposed by Stadler and Ward (2005). Children of all age groups performed better in retelling test compared to narrative production test. The results also revealed differences in performance in relation to gender (girls performed better than boys). Finally, a statistically significant correlation between children’s performance in retelling and narrative production skills was found. The results are discussed in terms of theoretical models of narrative abilities. Implications for research, theory and educational purposes are also discussed.

Keywords


narrative discourse; preschool/ first grade; narrative structure; developmental levels

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