Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Sandi Gillam

Abstract

Producing oral narratives is the best predictor of later literacy functioning. The ability to use performance on oral narratives as a way to identify children who may be at- risk for academic and language problems is helpful for educators. For example, it is likely that children who are identified with language impairments or who are learning English as a second language may have difficulty creating narratives due to the inherent language complexity of creating narratives. Research has demonstrated that similar to English monolingual children, narrative ability has been shown to underlie literacy development for bilingual children. Although there are numerous studies examining English narrative structure for Spanish-English bilingual (SEB) students, the literature is limited in examining episodic structure (initiating event, action, obstacle, and consequence) over time for SEB students.
The purpose of this study is to examine the narratives of one hundred eighty-nine SEB children’s English narrative growth from fall of kindergarten through spring of second grade. Children’s narrative retells were examined at six different time points in the fall and spring of each academic year for their ability to recall story grammar elements and to impose a structure on these elements.
The results of this study are potentially useful to educators to understand the
distinct narrative growth trajectories for young SEB children from kindergarten through second grade. Specifically, how the effect of gender, time, and initial English language proficiency impact narrative development. Findings have the potential to inform educators who make decisions regarding the need to provide additional assistance for children who may be at-risk for English language and literacy development.