Article in:Narrative Inquiry: Online-First Articles
“But what about the beginning?”
Young children’s independent narrative structure and how mothers promote chronological coherence during narrative conversations
This mixed model study first implemented a quantitative approach to investigate the structural coherence of the narratives that 3- to 6-year old children construct with and without their mothers. We then employed qualitative analysis to identify and categorize strategies that mothers used to scaffold their children’s developing sequencing skill during narrative conversations. Analysis of 233 co-constructed and 209 independent past-event narratives from 65 mother-child dyads revealed that the children produced narratives with a range of structural coherence both independently and with maternal assistance. Chronological narratives were the most common structure produced with and without assistance, but leapfrog narratives persisted in the dyadic context. Five distinct patterns of maternal strategies that provided chronological structure to their children’s leapfrogs emerged. We discuss the ways in which the maternal strategies identified promote early literacy skills through scaffolding and modeling school-like literacy practices in everyday conversations.
Keywords: high-point analysis, chronological narrative, sequencing, maternal scaffolding, narrative co-construction, early childhood
Published online: 24 September 2020
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