Oral Narrative Performance of African American Prekindergartners Who Speak Nonmainstream American English Purpose This study had 4 primary purposes: (a) to describe the oral narrative performance of typically developing African American prekindergarten children with commonly used macro- and microstructure measures; (b) to examine the concurrent and (c) predictive relations between narrative performance, spoken dialect use, vocabulary, and story comprehension; and (d) to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2013
Oral Narrative Performance of African American Prekindergartners Who Speak Nonmainstream American English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nicole Patton Terry
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Monique T. Mills
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Gary E. Bingham
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Souraya Mansour
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Nancy Marencin
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Correspondence to Nicole Patton Terry: npterry@gsu.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider
    Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2013
Oral Narrative Performance of African American Prekindergartners Who Speak Nonmainstream American English
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2013, Vol. 44, 291-305. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2013/12-0037)
History: Received May 1, 2012 , Revised November 30, 2012 , Accepted March 6, 2013
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2013, Vol. 44, 291-305. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2013/12-0037)
History: Received May 1, 2012; Revised November 30, 2012; Accepted March 6, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose This study had 4 primary purposes: (a) to describe the oral narrative performance of typically developing African American prekindergarten children with commonly used macro- and microstructure measures; (b) to examine the concurrent and (c) predictive relations between narrative performance, spoken dialect use, vocabulary, and story comprehension; and (d) to explore change in narrative performance during the school year.

Method Children provided story retells of Frog Where Are You? (Mayer, 1969) at the beginning (n = 76) and end (n = 146) of the school year. Retells were analyzed using the narrative assessment protocol (Pence, Justice, & Gosse, 2007), the narrative scoring scheme (Heilmann, Miller, & Nockerts, 2010; Heilmann, Miller, Nockerts, & Dunaway, 2010), high point analysis (McCabe, Bliss, Barra, & Bennett, 2008), and other common indices of narrative ability (e.g., number of different words). Children also completed spoken dialect use, oral vocabulary, and story comprehension measures.

Results Comparisons with data reported in the literature suggest that, on average, the children in this study performed within age-appropriate expectations on each narrative measure. In general, narrative performance was correlated with and predicted by complex syntax and vocabulary skills and was not associated with spoken dialect use. Finally, the children's narrative assessment protocol and high point analysis scores changed significantly during the school year.

Conclusion The results are useful in interpreting the performance of African American children during the prekindergarten school year.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported, in part, by a professional development grant awarded to the Rollins Center for Language & Learning at The Atlanta Speech School. Additional support was provided by the Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy Initiative and the Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program at Georgia State University. The opinions expressed are ours and do not represent views of the funding agencies.
We would like to thank the staff at the Rollins Center and at Smart Start, the early learning division of the United Way Metropolitan Atlanta, for their assistance with this project. We would also like to thank Laura Justice and her research team for their guidance and support as we administered the NAP. We especially thank the children and families who participated in this project, without whom this research would not have been possible.
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