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Developing Narrative Structure in Preschoolers' Retellings of a Story Book: Episodic Analysis
Based on the story grammar framework proposed by Stein and Glenn (1979), this study aimed to analyze story elements and macrostructure in preschoolers' retellings of a story book, and explore the effect of age differences on such narrative structure. Two hundred and eight narratives produced by children of three age groups, age 3 (N=59), age 4 (N=75), and age 5 (N=74), were transcribed, coded and scored using the CHILDES system. One-way ANOVA was adopted to analyze the effect of age on narrative performance. The study findings show that, except for story background information, there are significant differences in internal plans, consequences, and reactions between five-years-olds and three-year-olds. It was also found that, the performance scores in frequencies of initiating events, internal responses, and attempts of five-year-olds are significantly higher than those of the four-year-olds as well as the three-year-olds. In terms of macrostructure, older age groups tend to present stories in purposive and pisodic structure and include more causal relationships in their stories. However, the percentages of abbreviated episodes does not decrease with the increase of age in this study, which is inconsistent with the prior research findings. The result may shed light on the development of preschoolers' narrative structure and provide suggestions for preschool education, and future research.
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