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This project aims to examine preschool Mandarin Chinese-speaking children's narrative development and maternal interactive strategies with the purpose to answer three research questions: (1) what is the growth pattern of Mandarin speaking children's narrative skills between ages three and seven? (2) what is the relationship between children's narrative competence and their later literacy performance? and (3) what interactive strategies do Mandarin mothers use in conversation with their children? Fifteen children, eight boys and seven girls, and their mothers living in Taipei, Taiwan participated in this project. The children were visited several times in the home when they were three, four, seven, and eight years old. During each visit, they were asked to tell personal narratives to the experimenter and to tell joint personal anecdotes and to read books with their mothers. When the children were seven and eight, they were administered a battery of language and reading tests, including definitions, picture description, story comprehension, receptive vocabulary (PPVT), and reading comprehension. The whole process of the interview was audio recorded. The tapes were transcribed using the Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts (CHAT) and analyzed under the Child Language Analysis (CLAN) software programs. Three dimensions of the children's narrative skill, i.e., narrative structure, evaluation, and temporality, in telling the personally experienced stories were assessed and analyzed. Summary of the results gained from this study are: (1) the children in general produce longer narratives and include more narrative components, evaluative devices, and temporal markers in their personally experienced stories over time, (2) there is a significant relationship between the children's narrative performance and their metalinguistic, vocabulary, story comprehension, and reading abilities, and (3) significant differences in the maternal interaction strategies across time are found. Educational implications for the results of this study were discussed.
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