Students' Production of Narrative and AAE Features During an Emergent Literacy Task Purpose This study examined child production of narrative features and of African American English (AAE) during a wordless storybook oral narrative task. Method Participants were 30 AAE-speaking African American kindergarten and 1st grade students from low- and mid-socioeconomic status homes. Story grammar (SG), story literary technique (SLT), and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2013
Students' Production of Narrative and AAE Features During an Emergent Literacy Task
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachel E. Schachter
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Correspondence to Rachel E. Schachter: rschacht@umich.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider
    Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2013
Students' Production of Narrative and AAE Features During an Emergent Literacy Task
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2013, Vol. 44, 227-238. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2013/12-0034)
History: Received April 10, 2012 , Revised August 30, 2012 , Accepted January 2, 2013
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2013, Vol. 44, 227-238. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2013/12-0034)
History: Received April 10, 2012; Revised August 30, 2012; Accepted January 2, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose This study examined child production of narrative features and of African American English (AAE) during a wordless storybook oral narrative task.

Method Participants were 30 AAE-speaking African American kindergarten and 1st grade students from low- and mid-socioeconomic status homes. Story grammar (SG), story literary technique (SLT), and AAE features were examined.

Results Young AAE-speaking students used a variety of SG narrative features to develop the plot in their oral stories. Students also used multiple SLT elaborative features, though some techniques were used more frequently than others. The total SLT score positively predicted the total SG score, and the individual SLTs of adverbs or adjectives, references to the main theme, and character interactions were positively correlated with the total SG score. AAE-feature production rates did not predict the total SG score. However, several individual AAE features served specific narrative functions, with the preterite had, zero past tense, zero preposition, fitna/sposeta/bouta, and double marking features often being used to relay complicating actions within the narratives.

Conclusion Young children used both AAE and elaborative features in their narratives. Particular AAE features facilitated plot development, and the use of more elaborative features positively predicted higher narrative development scores.

Acknowledgment
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A100284 to the Regents of the University of Michigan. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education. The authors would like to thank the students, their families, and the participating schools.
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