Article  |   January 2012
Narrative Writing in Children and Adolescents: Examining the Literate Lexicon
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lei Sun
    California State University Long Beach
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Correspondence to Marilyn Nippold: nippold@uoregon.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Ruth Huntley Bahr
    Associate Editor: Ruth Huntley Bahr×
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings
Article   |   January 2012
Narrative Writing in Children and Adolescents: Examining the Literate Lexicon
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2012, Vol. 43, 2-13. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0099)
History: Received November 9, 2010 , Accepted May 15, 2011
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2012, Vol. 43, 2-13. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0099)
History: Received November 9, 2010; Accepted May 15, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose: This study was designed primarily to examine the use of abstract nouns and metacognitive verbs in the narrative writing of school-age children and adolescents.

Method: Three groups of typically developing students ages 11, 14, and 17 years (n = 40 per group) were asked to write a story about something funny, sad, or scary that had happened to them and a friend. Each student’s narrative essay was examined for the use of abstract nouns (e.g., accomplishment, loneliness, mystery) and metacognitive verbs (e.g., assume, discover, realize) and for the production of complex syntax as measured by mean length of T-unit (MLTU) and clausal density (CD).

Results: Age-related growth in narrative writing was documented for both types of words. Additionally, the use of abstract nouns and metacognitive verbs was associated with the production of complex syntax, reflecting the lexicon–syntax interface.

Conclusion: The narrative writing task employed in this study was effective in eliciting literate words and complex syntax in school-age children and adolescents.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors express sincere appreciation to the children and adolescents who participated in the study; to their parents and guardians who granted permission; to the teachers and administrators who allowed the study to take place and helped to schedule the testing; and to Trace Mansfield, who assisted with data coding. This report is based on the first author’s dissertation, which was completed under the direction of the second author.
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