Structural and Dialectal Characteristics of the Fictional and Personal Narratives of School-Age African American Children Purpose To report preliminary comparisons of developing structural and dialectal characteristics associated with fictional and personal narratives in school-age African American children. Method Forty-three children, Grades 2–5, generated a fictional narrative and a personal narrative in response to a wordless-book elicitation task and a story-prompt task, respectively. Narratives ... Research Note
Research Note  |   April 01, 2013
Structural and Dialectal Characteristics of the Fictional and Personal Narratives of School-Age African American Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Monique T. Mills
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Ruth V. Watkins
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Julie A. Washington
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Correspondence to Monique T. Mills: mills.298@osu.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider
    Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Note
Research Note   |   April 01, 2013
Structural and Dialectal Characteristics of the Fictional and Personal Narratives of School-Age African American Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 211-223. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/12-0021)
History: Received March 10, 2012 , Revised June 18, 2012 , Accepted December 24, 2012
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 211-223. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/12-0021)
History: Received March 10, 2012; Revised June 18, 2012; Accepted December 24, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose To report preliminary comparisons of developing structural and dialectal characteristics associated with fictional and personal narratives in school-age African American children.

Method Forty-three children, Grades 2–5, generated a fictional narrative and a personal narrative in response to a wordless-book elicitation task and a story-prompt task, respectively. Narratives produced in these 2 contexts were characterized for macrostructure, microstructure, and dialect density. Differences across narrative type and grade level were examined.

Results Statistically significant differences between the 2 types of narratives were found for both macrostructure and microstructure but not for dialect density. There were no grade-related differences in macrostructure, microstructure, or dialect density.

Conclusion The results demonstrate the complementary role of fictional and personal narratives for describing young children's narrative skills. Use of both types of narrative tasks and descriptions of both macrostructure and microstructure may be particularly useful for characterizing the narrative abilities of young school-age African American children, for whom culture-fair methods are scarce. Further study of additional dialect groups is warranted.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to the children who participated, to the parents who granted them permission, and to the school staff who created space for data collection. We thank the research assistants who helped code the narrative data. This research note is based on the first author's dissertation, which was completed under the advisement of the second author. This research study was supported by the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program (grant T32HD007489) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and a research grant from the University of Wisconsin Systems Institute on Race and Ethnicity awarded to the first and third authors.
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