Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education


Sandra Gillam


Research has shown that knowledge of narrative text structure enhances students’ abilities to comprehend and produce narrative discourse. The current study was designed to determine if training in narrative text structure was associated with improved comprehension for expository passages that adhered to a narrative structure. Six children between the ages of 5:3 and 9:7 with language impairments participated. Children were matched by grade and randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. Participants in the intervention group received instruction 2 times a week for 45-minute sessions for a duration of 12 weeks from a graduate student in speech-language pathology with 80% supervision by a certified speech-language pathologist. A literature- based narrative intervention that centered on knowledge of story grammar components, use of new vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as, answering comprehension questions and retelling stories was utilized. Narrative outcomes and expository outcomes were measured before and after intervention. Narrative outcome measures included the Test of Narrative Language Index Score (TNLAI) and the Monitoring Indicators of Scholarly Language rubric (MISL) analyzing a single scene narrative. Expository outcomes included two expository passages provided to each participant. After the participants were told the expository passage, they were asked to answer explicit and implicit comprehension questions about the passage as well as recall the passage in its entirety. Inter-rater reliability was determined to be 85% or above for scoring of all measures. Analysis of pre-test measurements found no significant difference between the groups. A series of one-way analysis of variance tests were conducted to evaluate whether children who received narrative instruction differed from children who did not receive instruction on the narrative and expository dependent variables after intervention. The ANOVAs conducted to test the relationship between group and narrative outcomes were significant favoring the experimental group for the TNLAI and the MISL scores. The ANOVAs conducted to test the relationship between group and expository outcomes were also significantly favoring the experimental group for the number of comprehension questions answered correctly, but not for the number of story details recalled. The implications of these results are discussed.