Tell Me a Story: Narrative Ability in Preschoolers




Helps, Carolyn

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Previous research has established that the early years of childhood are a crucial period for the development of narrative ability. Narrative ability, also called storytelling ability, is an important communication skill that has been linked to future language ability, school readiness, and higher-order cognitive control processes. The purpose of this study was to examine the range of narrative abilities in a typically developing sample of three-year-olds. Children produced oral narratives based on a picture book, and stories were scored based on Applebee’s (1978) six stages of development. The narratives ranged from the first to fifth stage, and all but one of the narratives lacked a cause and effect relationship between story events. These findings indicate that even within a short window of development there can be substantial differences in narrative abilities between children.



Child development lab, narrative, narrative development, narrative ability, storytelling, storytelling ability, psychology, preschool, preschoolers