Children Who Tell Stories May Become Strong Readers

A new study suggests that oral narrative skills are a strong predictor of early literacy in African-American children.

A new study suggests that African-American toddlers who are strong storytellers turn into strong readers. 
National Journal
Emily DeRuy
Add to Briefcase
Emily DeRuy
Aug. 17, 2015, 9:50 a.m.

Something un­usu­al and won­der­ful is hap­pen­ing with Afric­an-Amer­ic­an ba­bies.

Black tod­dlers who are good at telling stor­ies are more likely to have strong read­ing skills in kinder­garten, ac­cord­ing to new re­search from the Frank Port­er Gra­ham (FPG) Child De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute at the Uni­versity of North Car­o­lina-Chapel Hill.

Sur­pris­ingly, the same link doesn’t ex­ist when it comes to white, Latino, or Asi­an chil­dren.

“Or­al storytelling has been an im­port­ant part of the his­tor­ies of many peoples, and an es­pe­cially rich as­pect of the black cul­ture across the Afric­an di­a­spora,” Iheoma Iruka, dir­ect­or of re­search and eval­u­ation at the Buf­fett Early Child­hood In­sti­tute at the Uni­versity of Neb­raska and one of the re­search­ers for the study, said in a state­ment.

Afric­an-Amer­ic­an chil­dren are par­tic­u­larly ad­ept at telling com­plex nar­rat­ives of many types, ad­ded FPG re­search­er Nicole Gard­ner-Neb­lett, who led the study.

“Hav­ing a rep­er­toire of dif­fer­ent styles sug­gests that Afric­an-Amer­ic­an chil­dren are flex­ible in their nar­rat­ives, vary­ing the nar­rat­ives ac­cord­ing to con­text,” she said. “This flex­ib­il­ity may be­ne­fit Afric­an-Amer­ic­an chil­dren as they trans­ition from us­ing or­al lan­guage to the de­cod­ing and com­pre­hen­sion of writ­ten text.”

Us­ing a sample of more than 6,000 chil­dren na­tion­wide, the re­search­ers com­pared the or­al storytelling skills of preschool­ers to their emer­gent lit­er­acy a couple of years later in kinder­garten.

While the link was ob­vi­ous only for Afric­an-Amer­ic­an chil­dren, the re­search­ers sug­gest that the as­so­ci­ation may also ex­ist for oth­er chil­dren. It just might not be ap­par­ent un­til later when more de­vel­op­ment has oc­curred.

What does this mean, prac­tic­ally speak­ing?

It means that par­ents and care­givers should en­cour­age chil­dren — es­pe­cially black tod­dlers — to tell stor­ies. The or­al nar­rat­ive skills they pick up in preschool seem to help them be­gin to read. The more com­plex stor­ies they tell, the bet­ter they are at read­ing down the line.

“Build­ing on chil­dren’s or­al nar­rat­ive skills is a strategy for schools look­ing to con­nect with chil­dren,” Iruka said in the state­ment. “Es­pe­cially as schools sup­port chil­dren of col­or who come from a cul­ture that has cher­ished these skills.”

While the re­search­ers ac­know­ledge there are still ques­tions about early lit­er­acy, the study’s ini­tial find­ings may of­fer edu­cat­ors valu­able clues about how they can sup­port chil­dren, par­tic­u­larly Afric­an Amer­ic­ans, as they learn to read.

What We're Following See More »
HAS DELAYED WHILE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
Mueller Tells Court He’s Ready for Papadopoulos Sentencing
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
BIG WIN FOR TROLLS
Federal Judge Rules that Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
AT LEAST $400,000
Ukraine Paid Cohen To Arrange Trump Meeting
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen was paid at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between Victor Poroshenko and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev. Shortly after the meeting, which was held at the White House was last June, the Ukrainian "anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort." Poroshenko was reportedly desperate to meet with Trump, after documents leaked under his watch revealed that President Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort had failed to disclose his connections with the Ukrainian presidential elections, in violation of U.S. election law.

Source:
ALLEGE PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING
Ohio Democrats File Gerrymandering Suit
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Ohio Democratic voters have filed suit against Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Republican state officials over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Ohio's electoral map. Despite capturing between 51 and 59 percent of the statewide vote in the past three elections, Republicans hold three-quarters of state congressional seats. "The U.S. Supreme Court is due by the end of June to issue major rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could affect the Ohio suit."

Source:
REMOTE DESERT FACILITY
Iran May Have Restarted Missile Program
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

An Iranian missile scientist, killed in a strike in 2011 along with his research center, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that ... is operating to this day," according to a team of California weapons experts. "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login