YOUNG CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING AND RECALL OF A SHORT STORY

MARIE MARTIN GRESALFI, Fordham University

Abstract

The investigator hypothesized that very young children construct components of story schemata, and that changing structures of story schemata would be apparent in the protocols of children between the ages of 3 and 5.^ The subjects included 3, 4, and 5 year olds, 10 at each age level. These subjects were evaluated as being articulate and able to provide comprehensible verbal responses to the interview.^ A fable was used, and analyzed. Analysis of micropropositions was based upon Kintsch's (1977) method, as described in a handbook by Turner and Greene (1977). Analysis of macropropositions was based upon van Dijk's method (1977). A story grammar analysis was performed, based upon Kintsch (1977).^ The interview was carried out in each subject's home. The interview allowed for free-recall, probed recall, and picture-assisted probed recall.^ The results indicated that where memory limitation was less likely to interfere, namely, in Episode 3, most of the 3 year olds recalled all three macropropositions. The 4 year olds recalled more in Episode 2 than did the 3 year olds, indicating a developmental decrease in the reliance on recency in recall of responses.^ The 5 year olds recalled the story categories in a manner most similar to that of older children and adults and indicated a strong awareness of the need to recall the important parts of the story, rather than those parts most recently heard. They recalled the Exposition macropropositions more frequently than any other category. This finding is consistent with findings in the research literature on older children and adults, such as that of Stein and Glenn (1978), and Mandler and Johnson (1977).^ The investigator concluded that, while 5 year olds were the most successful in remembering the micropropositions of each episode, of transforming these into the macropropositions, and of weighing the components of these episodes, nevertheless, the 3 and 4 year olds demonstrated a sophisticated command of the story structures, at both microproposition and macroproposition levels. ^

Subject Area

Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

GRESALFI, MARIE MARTIN, "YOUNG CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING AND RECALL OF A SHORT STORY" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8326174.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326174

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