Creative and Stylistic Devices Employed by Children During a Storybook Narrative Task: A Cross-Cultural Study Purpose The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of culture on the creative and stylistic features children employ when producing narratives based on wordless picture books. Method Participants included 60 first- and second-grade African American, Latino American, and Caucasian children. A subset of narratives based ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2011
Creative and Stylistic Devices Employed by Children During a Storybook Narrative Task: A Cross-Cultural Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brenda K. Gorman
    aMarquette University, Milwaukee, WI
  • Christine E. Fiestas
    bUniversity of Texas at Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    bUniversity of Texas at Austin
  • Maya Reynolds Clark
    cArmstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA
  • Correspondence to Brenda K. Gorman: brenda.gorman@marquette.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider
    Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2011
Creative and Stylistic Devices Employed by Children During a Storybook Narrative Task: A Cross-Cultural Study
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2011, Vol. 42, 167-181. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/10-0052)
History: Received June 22, 2010 , Revised October 28, 2010 , Accepted December 6, 2010
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2011, Vol. 42, 167-181. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/10-0052)
History: Received June 22, 2010; Revised October 28, 2010; Accepted December 6, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

Purpose The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of culture on the creative and stylistic features children employ when producing narratives based on wordless picture books.

Method Participants included 60 first- and second-grade African American, Latino American, and Caucasian children. A subset of narratives based on wordless picture books collected as part of a larger study was coded and analyzed for the following creative and stylistic conventions: organizational style (topic centered, linear, cyclical), dialogue (direct, indirect), reference to character relationships (nature, naming, conduct), embellishment (fantasy, suspense, conflict), and paralinguistic devices (expressive sounds, exclamatory utterances).

Results Many similarities and differences between ethnic groups were found. No significant differences were found between ethnic groups in organizational style or use of paralinguistic devices. African American children included more fantasy in their stories, Latino children named their characters more often, and Caucasian children made more references to the nature of character relationships.

Conclusion Even within the context of a highly structured narrative task based on wordless picture books, culture influences children’s production of narratives. Enhanced understanding of narrative structure, creativity, and style is necessary to provide ecologically valid narrative assessment and intervention for children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant K23 DC00141 awarded to the third author. We also give our sincerest thanks to Ronald B. Gillam for his valuable input.
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