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ERIC Number: ED138376
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Structure of Children's Narratives.
Menig-Peterson, Carole L.; McCabe, Allyssa
This analysis of the structure of children's narratives deals with material gathered from 96 children, aged 3 1/2 to 9 1/2 years, in conversations about events in which they were personally involved. Elements of the narratives and the structural relationship of these elements are examined. Three elements are discerned: (1) chronological recapitulation of events; (2) orientation of the listener to the context of the narrative; and (3) an evaluation of the events which communicates the meaning of the narrator's experience. It was found that children in all ages were able to provide comprehensible, chronologically-ordered recapitulations of their experiences. All of the children provided extensive evaluation. There were no age differences in quantity of evaluation provided, but older children used a greater variety of types of evaluation. Although children at all ages provided orientation to context, they did so increasingly with age. When the position of the three elements in the narratives was examined, orientation was found to be significantly clustered in the first part of the narratives (increasingly so with age) and evaluation significantly clustered at the end. When the timeline of the narration was compared with the timeline of the experience, three major patterns were seen, illustrating a developmental shift in how children of different ages verbally reconstruct their experiences. Narrative structure progresses from a "leapfrogging" pattern (frequent in 4-year-olds), through an "ending at a high point" pattern (frequent in 5-year-olds), and culminates in a classic pattern in which the narrator builds up to a high point, dwells on that point by means of evaluation and orientation, and then resolves the action. (Author/BF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: The 4-page appendix is of marginal legibility due to blurred print in original document; Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17-20, 1977)