Narrative Skills of Children in Year Two
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Oral narrative skill has been shown to be important for academic success. Children who have weak oral narrative skill have difficulty accessing the curriculum, with literacy and forming personal and social relationships. There are two main types of oral narrative, personal and fictional. Personal narratives are common within children's conversations and have been shown to have functional importance for accessing the school curriculum. Previous studies report differences in the quality of personal and fictional narrative. Speech and Language Therapists often use fictional narrative assessments, rather than assessing personal narratives, to establish a child's narrative skill due to the relative ease with which fictional narratives can be scored and interpreted. Aim: To establish if children in year two, who have been educated within the foundation phase in Wales, are reaching the expected level of oral narrative development. To investigate, what differences ,if any, exist between personal and fictional narratives. Methods and Procedures: The participants were 10 year two children from a mainstream school, who had no history of speech and language difficulties. Fictional narratives were assessed using the published assessment Peter and the Cat, and personal narratives were assessed using the conversational map procedure. Both types of narrative were analysed at macro and micro structural level using a marking scheme derived from the Peter and the cat assessment. Outcomes and Results: The participants within this sample did not reach the expected level of oral narrative (true oral narrative) within either their personal or fictional narratives overall. There was no statistically significant result between the scores of the fictional or personal narratives, however qualitative analysis of the individual components revealed a large degree of variation amongst participants. Conclusions and Implications: The results of the study present a delayed picture of oral narrative skill which could reflect stages of narrative development which do not corresponds with the chronological age expectations set out in the literature or lack of appropriate development of children's oral narrative skill within the foundation phase in Wales. The results have implications for both education and clinical practice and suggest that further research is required to establish local norms for narrative development, establish effective measures of oral narrative skill and investigate the impact of children's narrative skill within mainstream classrooms.
BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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