Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Department name when degree awarded

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Ronald Gillam


Ronald Gillam


Sandra Gillam


Sonia Manuel-Dupont


Beula Magimairaj


Sarah Pinkelman


The ability to produce complex sentences with a variety of complex clauses is essential for children’s academic success in topics such as science and language arts. Previous research suggests that improving children’s ability to create narratives (stories) results in increased use of sentences with multiple clauses. This study examined the effect of the Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy (SKILL) narrative intervention on participant’s use of complex sentences. Participants were 120 monolingual English speakers between the ages of 8;0 and 10;11 who participated in a larger randomized control trial. Participants were randomly assigned to the treatment group or the control group. Each participant created two stories after viewing a picture before being assigned to either the treatment or control group. They then created two more stories in response to the same pictures after the intervention group completed the SKILL program. The stories produced by participants were transcribed and divided into sentences. The use of five complex clause types were coded and examined. Controlling for story length at pretest, participants in the treatment group produced significantly more complex utterances than the control group at posttest. Additionally, participants in the treatment group produced more coordinated conjunctions and complement clauses. This study provides preliminary evidence that the SKILL program can be used to improve both narrative ability and syntactic ability in monolingual children.



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