Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
O' Toole, C. and Dowling, S.;
Child Language Seminar
Telling their stories: An investigation into narratives in children from lower socioeconomic groups.
Newcastle, UK
Poster Presentation
Optional Fields
The ability to tell a story is an important aspect of child language, which serves both academic and social purposes. The curricula of most primary schools expect children to come to school ready to learn through oral narrative and instruction, and narrative is central to the development of literacy. Using narrative as an assessment tool has been proven to have good predictive power for later language and literacy abilities, is an ecologically valid way to measure communicative competence and investigates the interaction between semantics, grammar, cohesion and story planning in one complex task (Justice, Bowles, Pence & Gosse, 2010; Wetherell, Botting & Conti-Ramsden, 2007). However, children from lower socioeconomic groups are known to have lower vocabulary and language skills, and so come to school with reduced potential in their ability to access the curriculum. This presentation will describe a study which investigated two types of oral narratives in 20 typically-developing aged 4-6 years. Ten children were from a designated disadvantaged school in a lower SES urban area, and were matched for age and gender to ten children in a middle-class school from the same city. Children took part in one story re-telling task using the standardised Bus Story test (Renfrew, 1997), and one personal narrative task based on a published language sampling protocol(Westerveld & Gillon, 2002). Story re-tell will be analyzed in accordance with the Bus Story manual, which includes scores for information, sentence length, linguistic complexity and MLUm. Personal narratives will be transcribed and analysed using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcript conventions to measure MLUm and semantic diversity. It is expected that all children will perform better in the personal narratives than the story retell task, and that there will be a difference between children from lower and higher SES groups in their language skills.
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