Applied Psychology OPUS

Exploring Latino Preschoolers' Narrative Structure Across Genres

Elaine Landi

Faculty Mentor | Dr. Adina Schick

Children’s ability to share oral stories with coherent plot structure is an important predictor of school-readiness skills. Narrative skills advance during the preschool years, but research shows that children’s narrative production differs based on genre-specific prompts (i.e., personal and fictional narratives). Thus, eliciting only one type of narrative may not fully capture the extent of children’s narrative skills. Although the sharing of personal and fictional narratives is a common practice in most cultural communities, the majority of genre-related research has focused on the developing narrative skills of European-descent children. Given that one in four children in the United States is Latino, there is a need to gain a fuller understanding of Latino preschoolers’ genre-specific narrative development. The current study analyzed the personal and fictional narrative structures of 105 English-speaking Latino children (aged 3-5). Narratives were transcribed, verified, and coded using High Point Analysis (Bliss & McCabe, 2008). Results showed that English-speaking Latino children are greatly advancing their narrative discourse abilities across both genres during their time in preschool. While the progression of narrative skills is similar across genres (i.e., five-year-olds tell significantly more coherent stories), children share more coherently structured fictional stories than personal narratives, suggesting that eliciting one genre is not indicative of full narrative capacity. Results are discussed in relation to methodological implications for eliciting children’s narratives.