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Title: Effects of story enactment and teacher-led discussion on preschool children's story comprehension
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Title: Effects of story enactment and teacher-led discussion on preschool children's story comprehension
Physical Description: ix, 175 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bennett, Teresa C., 1948-
Publication Date: 1983
Copyright Date: 1983
 Subjects
Subject: Storytelling   ( lcsh )
Reading comprehension   ( lcsh )
Education, Preschool   ( lcsh )
Curriculum and Instruction thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Curriculum and Instruction -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1983.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 170-174.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by Teresa C. Bennett.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099601
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000365846
oclc - 09911829
notis - ACA4669

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EFFECTS OF STORY ENACTMENT AND TEACHER-LED DISCUSSION
ON PRESCHOOL CHILDREN'S STORY COMPREHENSION














BY

TERESA C. BENNETT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1983

































Copyright 1983

by

Teresa C. Bennett































This work is dedicated to

my son and my father.



"The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I wish to extend my thanks to the following people:

Dr. Linda Lamme, who was demanding, insightful, help-

ful, interested, and enthusiastic;

Dr. Steve Olejnik, my teacher, who helped me with the

analysis and spent time critiqueing my writing;

Dr. Dorene Ross, who critiqued my writing, helped me

revise and provided support;

Dr. Pat Ashton, who was a good listener and counselor;

Dr. Bob Algozinne, who provided feedback on my writing

and humor at important moments.

My thanks extend to other members of my family and

friends, my mother, Lolly and Chip, Gussie and Bob Mautz,

Sharen Halsall.

My thanks also go to Lois Rudloff, my typist, who did

such a great job.

I want to express my appreciation to an unofficial

member of my committee, Dr. Anthony Pelligrini, of the Uni-

versity of Georgia, who is an authority on play and young

children. He helped me formulate the framework of this

study.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . .


CHAPTER

ONE INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .


Introduction . . . .
Need for the Study . . .
Statement of the Problem .
Significance of the Study
Limitations of the Study .
Definition of Terms . .
Formal Story Elements . .
Summary . . . . .


TWO REVIEW OF LITERATURE . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . . . . .
Reading Readiness . . . . . .
Story Comprehension . . . . . .
Formal Elements of a Story . . . .
Low Socioeconomic Status Black Children:
Language Development and Reading
Readiness . . . . . . . .
Play and Young Children . . . . .
Story Enactment and Story Comprehension
Play Training . . . . . . .
Teacher-Led Discussion . . . . .
Fairy Tales . . . . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . . .

THREE RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY . . .
Subjects . . . . . . . . .
Sample Selection . . . . . . .
Variables . . . . . . . .
Instrumentation . . . . . . .
Design . . . . . . . . .
Data Collection . . . . . . .
Hypotheses . . . . . . . .
Assumptions . . . . . . . .


Page


iv

viii




1
1
4
6
8
9
10
12
13

14
14
17
18
20


22
25
29
31
39
41
43








Page

Procedure . . . . . . . . 55
Teacher Training Workshops . . . .. 57
Curriculum Implementation . . . .. 59

FOUR RESULTS . . . . . . ... 62
Little Red Riding Hood: Formal Elements
of a Story . . . . . . 62
The Gingerbread Man: Formal Elements of
a Story . . . . . . . . 77
Post Hoc Analyses . . . . ... 87
Little Red Riding Hood . . . ... 91
The Gingerbread Man . . . . .. 97

FIVE SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 106
Factors Affecting Results of the Study 106
Criterion-Referenced Test: Little Red
Riding Hood . . . . . . .. 113
Story Retelling . . . . . .. 114
Broad Implications for Future Research 122
Practical Implications for Future
Research . . . . . . .. 123
Enactment Treatment Observations ... . 124
Implications for Day Care Teachers . 127
Conclusions . . . . . ... 134


APPENDIX

A CRT LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, 4th FAMILIAR
STORY . . . . . . . ... 137

B READING ALOUD TO CHILDREN SCALE (REVISED). 138

C BOOKS USED IN THIS STUDY . . . .. 141

D INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS ON THE STUDY
ABOUT HOW CHILDREN UNDERSTAND STORIES . 142

E SCHEDULE FOR STORIES . . . . .. 145

F QUESTIONS FOR THE THREE BEARS BY PAUL
GALDONE . . . . . . . ... 146

G QUESTIONS FOR THE THREE LITTLE PIGS ILLUS-
TRATED BY AURELIUS BATTAGLIA. . . . 149

H QUESTIONS FOR THE THREE BILLY GOATS
GRUFF . . . . . . . ... 152









Page


I TEACHER-LED DISCUSSION QUESTIONS TO BE
USED FOR THE STORY LITTLE RED RIDING
HOOD BY JACOB AND WILHELM GRIMM ... . 155

J SAMPLE STORIES . . . . . .. 158

K PROCEDURES . . . . . . . .. 168

L SUMMARY FOR TREATMENT EFFECTS WITH
TEACHERS NESTED WITHIN TREATMENTS USED
AS THE ERROR TERM . . . . . .. 169


REFERENCE NOTES . . . . . . . .. 170

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . .. 171

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . .. 175














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



EFFECTS OF STORY ENACTMENT AND TEACHER-LED DISCUSSION
ON PRESCHOOL CHILDREN'S STORY COMPREHENSION


By

Teresa C. Bennett

April 1983


Chairperson: Linda Leonard Lamme
Major Department: Curriculum and Instruction


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect

of story enactment and teacher-led discussion on low income

black preschool children's story comprehension as measured

by a criterion-referenced test and two retelling tasks which

were analyzed for formal elements of a story.

The study involved 45 preschoolers (3 1/2 to 4 1/2

years old) in six Title XX (federally funded) daycare cen-

ters in Gainesville, Florida. The pretest administered by

graduate students in the Speech Department was the Test of

Early Language. The posttest data, the criterion-referenced

test and two retelling tasks were collected by the teachers

who carried out the four-week curriculum and by the experi-

menter.


viii










Analysis of covariance was used to test for treatment

effects on 11 dependent variables. Chi-square analysis was

done on 6 variables which were dichotomous. The signifi-

cance level was set at a=.05.

The four-week literature curriculum was carried out by

volunteer teachers in six daycare centers. The enactment

group was provided books, filmstrips, cassettes, instruc-

tions and props for each story. The teacher-led discussion

group was provided books, filmstrips, cassettes, instruc-

tions and specific questions and appropriate answers for

each story. The control group was provided books, film-

strips and cassettes for each story.

The enactment and teacher-led discussion treatments

had a significant positive effect on the criterion-refer-

enced test on Little Red Riding Hood, total formal elements

score and unity on The Gingerbread Man. These results sug-

gest that a literature curriculum utilizing enactment or

teacher-led discussion can significantly improve preschool

children's story comprehension, particularly in regard to

recall.













CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION



Introduction


Psycholinguistic theories of how children learn to

read suggest that reading is above all a thinking process,

a "psycholinguistic guessing game" in which children test

hypotheses about how to derive meaning from print (Downing,

1979; Goodman, 1981; Smith, 1978). Rather than learning a

series of hierarchical skills, children learn to read by

interacting with whole texts while reading (Smith, 1978).

If reading is an integrated semantic process in which mean-

ing is paramount, children need to be given experiences in

problem-solving and making inferences to "fill in the gaps"

in reading materials such as stories (Bransford, 1979). A

story is a stable and organized body of knowledge and in or-

der to understand it a child must comprehend the continuity

and connectedness of the story's events and structure (Stein,

1980). Through exposure to stories, children develop an in-

ternal representation, a set of expectations about what com-

prises a story, called a story schema. A story schema

helps children integrate and understand what they read (Dur-

kin, 1981; Stein, 1980).

Language proficiency helps children understand and re-

member stories that are read to them. Story comprehension










is enhanced by good language skills and consistent exposure

to stories. Low income black children come from environ-

ments where they may not be exposed to literature and their

language development may be termed delayed (Deutsch, 1967;

Templin, 1975). Children from this population who are in

daycare centers might benefit from a program which empha-

sizes a holistic literature approach. Reading many stories over

a period of time facilitates the reading readiness of these

children through listening, memorizing, and inventing stor-

ies using book language (Levenstein, 1970). Better compre-

hension is possible when children understand stories and

their plots. The ability to comprehend the relationship of

events in a story helps children be more ready to read

(Stein, 1980).

Research with low income black children and reading

falls into two categories. Research which used isolated

skills as outcome measures found that direct instruction in

these skills most benefitted the children (Bereiter & Engel-

man, 1966). The use of higher order measures, like overall

language development and comprehension with children taught

by direct instruction, indicates that these children are not

as successful in comprehending what they read as children

taught by a meaning approach (Becker, 1977; Bruner, 1968).

The goals of this study are not involved with skill hier-

archies, since comprehension cannot be broken down into

skills (Mason, Osborn, & Rosenshine, 1977). This study has










a much broader goal, the integration and understanding of

story material.

One theory about the learning style of low income

black children terms their learning style, social in-

teractive (Gordon, 1982). Play, which is social interac-

tive, is identified as a powerful means for develop-

ing the language of young children (Piaget, 1962; Vygotsky,

1978). Play, an intellectual process, helps the young child

assimilate new information into present mental structures

(Piaget, 1962). Language and meaning grow through play as

the child becomes aware of symbols and the relationship be-

tween the signifier and the signified (Wolfgang, 1974). A

special type of play treatment, story enactment, may be ideal

for facilitating the language growth and story comprehension

of this population, because it is social interactive. Also

previous research has shown that story enactment has had pos-

itive effects on the story comprehension of low income chil-

dren who are five years of age (Pelligrini & Galda, 1982).

The traditional teaching method used to help children

listen to and understand stories is a questioning or

classroom discussion technique (Pearson & Johnson, 1978).

Teacher-led discussion, one treatment in this study, is more

direct than the other treatment, story enactment. This

study seeks to juxtapose a dynamic, interactive treatment,

story enactment, with the more direct method, teacher-led

discussion, to determine which condition enhances the story











comprehension and language of four year old black children.

Story comprehension and language, in turn, are important

aspects of reading readiness in a holistic approach to lit-

eracy.



Need for the Study


Theories abound as to why low socioeconomic status

black children do poorly in school settings. Whether the

problem is lack of adequate stimulation at home, biased

tests or biased teachers, the fact remains that children

in this population have difficulty academically (Gordon,

1982). It seems important to do research on these children

before school entry to ascertain the most appropriate teach-

ing methods for facilitating their learning.

This research is needed to extend the generalizability

of previous research in the area of story comprehension to

low socioeconomic status black four year olds. Six known

studies utilizing a small group enactment treatment have

found significant results on story comprehension measures

(Milner, 1982, Pelligrini & Galda, 1982; Saltz, Dixon, &

Johnson, 1977; Saltz & Johnson, 1974; Silvern, Williamson,

Taylor, Surbeck, & Kelley, Note 1; Silvern, Williamson, Tay-

lor, & Kelley, Note 2). This research shows that story en-

actment does facilitate story comprehension in older chil-

dren. There has not been enough research on children un-

der five years of age to know how they understand stories.










Nancy Stein (1980), a major researcher in the area of story

comprehension, states that more research is needed with

young children below the age of five to complete our under-

standing of how children think about stories.

The present study is similar to Milner's (1982) study

and a study by Pelligrini and Galda (1982). Milner used a

story enactment treatment with middle income white four

year olds and found significant results on total formal ele-

ments of a story included in a retelling task. Milner's re-

sults can only be generalized to similar populations, pre-

school children of college students. The proposed study

extends the generalizability of Milner's results to low SES

black four year olds. The second treatment in this study,

teacher-led discussion, is similar to a treatment used by

Pelligrini and Galda (1982). The discussion group in the

Pelligrini and Galda study did facilitate story comprehen-

sion, but the primary treatment, story enactment, facil-

itated better story comprehension for low SES black five

year olds.

Another reason this study is needed is to develop a

literature program of fairy tales for daycare staff using

story enactment and teacher-led discussion. This study

will broaden our knowledge of the best teaching methods to

use while involving children with literature. There is

little research data on the impact of children's experiences

with literature in the daycare curriculum. The










effectiveness of the training provided for the teachers is

assessed by determining its impact upon the students.



Statement of the Problem


Research is needed on low socioeconomic status four

year old black children in daycare settings to determine

the best methods for promoting conceptual learning, such as

story comprehension. This study seeks to investigate the

effects of two treatment conditions, story enactment of

fairy tales and teacher-led discussion about fairy tales on

preschoolers' story comprehension as measured by knowledge

of formal elements of a story and a criterion-referenced

test. The experimenter is providing teacher training for

those teachers who will implement the treatments in separate

daycare centers. The primary treatment is enacting a series

of four fairy tale stories with teachers taking an active

role in dramatization. The second treatment consists of a

teacher-led discussion after reading the same stories. The

control condition is a situation in which the teacher will

read the same stories.

The question under investigation in regard to story

comprehension is: Does story enactment, in preselected

groups of four children, or teacher-led discussion, facil-

itate the story comprehension of low socioeconomic status

black four year olds (N=45) as measured by a CRT and formal

elements of a story?











The formal story elements to be used in scoring the

children's story retellings are those used by Applebee

(1978), Isbell (1979), and Milner (1982): formal opening

(i.e., once upon a time), formal closing (i.e., the end),

and number of characters, number of incidents, number of

times conversational quotations are used and story unity.

The adult-led discussion treatment utilizes a questioning

mode developed by Sadow (1982) which is based on Rumelhart's

story grammar. The questions investigate these areas: set-

ting; initiating event, reaction, action, and consequence.

The control group is hearing the same fairy tales read aloud

and participating in their regular curriculum.

All three groups are hearing the same four fairy tales.

They are Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The

Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Three Bears. Fairy tales

are chosen as the genre of literature because they have

simple plots and thematic development. Fairy tales possess

special appeal to children who identify with the conflicts

and problems dealt with in the stories as well as the regu-

lated pattern inherent in the tale, i.e., use of repetition,

causal relations, formal opening and closing (Favat, Note 3).



Significance of the Study


This study is significant because it will develop a

curriculum model for teachers at the early childhood level










and validate its effectiveness for children. This study

also validates the theory that one academic skill area,

holistic reading readiness, can be enhanced either by a

thematic fantasy play curriculum or a more traditional dis-

cussion curriculum. The results of this study indicate

whether low socioeconomic status black children learn best

in a social interactive curriculum, i.e., story enactment,

or the more passive, abstract, discussion curriculum.

A carefully developed daily literature curriculum has

been developed for this study. The children hear one fairy

tale every week for four weeks. Each teacher reads the

story two days a week and audiovisual media presents the

story on two other days during the week. The story enact-

ment group enacts the story immediately after hearing it or

seeing it presented. This type of treatment may be espe-

cially appropriate for low SES black children, since it is

a condition in which social interaction is the focus. This

active treatment, termed story enactment, is contrasted with

the more traditional discussion treatment to determine which

condition is best for this population.

Another important facet of this study lies in its con-

tribution to new theories about reading readiness. Theories

about reading readiness have changed in recent years. The

theory of readiness as visual and auditory discrimination,

letter identification, and copying letters is being rede-

fined with research findings by psycholinguistic theorists











(Downing, 1979; Goodman, 1981; Smith, 1978). Clay (1972)

says there are certain language concepts children need to

master before they are ready to learn to read. These lan-

guage concepts involve exposure and interaction with books,

inventing stories, using book talk and memorizing stories

(Clay, 1972; McDonell & Osburn, 1978). The story enactment

treatment in this study is aimed at facilitating these lan-

guage concepts. Inventing stories and talking in book lan-

guage are practiced while enacting the stories and speaking

dialogue. Memorizing stories develops with exposure to the

same stories over a period of time (Schickedanz, 1978).

The significance of this study, then, lies in its potential

for giving us information about which kind of curriculum is

most beneficial with this particular population in regard

to story comprehension, which is the central component of

holistic reading readiness.



Limitations of the Study


One limitation of this study was that the quality of

the literature intervention is dependent on the training,

abilities and interests of the teachers. Attempting to re-

mediate this, the experimenter divided the teachers by edu-

cational level before randomly assigning them to treatments.

Also, teacher training was provided to standardize implemen-

tation of the treatments. Nevertheless, this study was










susceptible to teacher effects. Possibly more teacher

training is needed for successful implementation of the en-

actment treatment.

Two other factors which limited the study were small

sample size and the short length of the treatments. The

total sample size was 45, after 17 subjects were lost because

of attrition and absenteeism. Six centers were used because

that was the maximum the experimenter could site visit per

week. Only the four year olds in the six centers were sub-

jects. This limits the number of students in the study.

The experiment .was scheduled for four weeks. This might

be too short a time span to see changes in the dependent

measures.

Another limitation of the study was that a federal day-

care audit took place during the second week of the experi-

ment. The audit affected the morale of the teachers, di-

rectors and students. Also loss of some subjects was due to

the audit.

Because subjects could not be randomly assigned to

treatments, analysis of covariance was chosen for the analy-

sis to adjust for initial differences between subjects.

The covariate consisted of a language quotient score on the

Test of Early Language (Note 6).














Definition of Terms


Schema. In this study a schema is defined as a mental

construct which includes information about events or happen-

ings which must be met before a situation may qualify as a

particular type of event or action. Schemata guide the as-

sumptions human beings make while comprehending, learning,

and remembering. Schemata may also be called scripts or

frames. A specific script involves a group of concepts or

events. For example, a birthday party schema would include

a mental script of what events will take place at a birth-

day party, who will attend, etc. Schemata help us organize

knowledge to better understand incoming information about

the world (Bransford, 1979).

Story schema. In order to connect the ideas and events

to one another in a story, a story schema develops to help

the reader establish continuity between events in the story

(Rumelhart, 1975).

Story grammar. These have been developed by authors

and consist of a setting and a number of episodes which are

related to one another in a meaningful way.

Story representation. A mental representation in the

mind of the reader concerning the actions or events in a

story and how they are connected to one another. Assessment










of how well a reader comprehends the story is usually done

by asking the reader to retell the story and by analyzing

how many connections are made.

Story enactment. Children are read a story, are as-

signed roles and then enact the story in groups of four

with active participation by the teacher.

Thematic fantasy play. A situation in which children

enact a role and theme not related to their personal expe-

rience.

Self-directive dramatization. The pupil's own orig-

inal, imaginative, spontaneous interpretation of a charac-

ter of his/her own choosing in a story.

Teacher-led discussion. An activity in which teacher,

after reading to the students, utilizes a questioning mode

to go over the important elements of a story.

Reading readiness. Visual and language concepts devel-

oped over time with exposure to literature and print. The

reading readiness area that relates to this study involves

story comprehension specifically memorizing telling and in-

venting stories, and using book talk (Clay, 1972).

CRT. A test to measure recall (Appendix A).



Formal Story Elements


Formal opening. A designated beginning to the story,

i.e., once upon a time.










Formal closing. A designated ending to the story, i.e.,

The end.

Number of incidents. A count of the number of inci-

dents recounted in the retelling, i.e., He jumped on his back.

Number of conversational quotations. A numerical count

of the times characters speak dialogue, i.e., He said, Hello."

Number of characters mentioned. A numerical count of

how many different characters are mentioned in the retelling.

Unity. A measure of the child's skill in retelling the

story with a sense of thematic development, i.e., If the

child brings in incidents not related to the story, unity

was not scored.



Summary


The overall purpose of this study is to investigate

the usefulness of a story enactment treatment or a teacher-

led discussion treatment on the story comprehension of black

low socioeconomic status four year olds as measured by for-

mal elements of a story included in two retelling tasks and

scores on a criterion-referenced task.













CHAPTER TWO
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE



Introduction


Experience with literature has a significant effect on

a child's literacy development (Teale, 1978). Interaction

with adults and literature in the home environment influ-

ences the interest children have in books and other areas

related to reading, i.e., language development and vocabu-

lary development (Durkin, 1981; Levenstein, 1970). Studies

show that the home environments of early readers included the

following: printed materials were present, reading was'done

in the environment, the environment facilitated contact with

paper and pencil, and adults in the environment responded

to the child's efforts with quality interaction (Teale,

1978). This description of home environments producing

children who will read early and love to read would not

characterize the homes of low socioeconomic black children

(Levenstein, 1970). Studies show that there was a lack of

printed materials in low SES homes, that books were infre-

quently read to children in these homes, and these parents

wereless sophisticated verbally (Deutsch, 1967; Templin,

1957). These factors have a profound effect on the language

development and potential reading readiness of the children










from low SES environments. This studywas designed to en-

hance the literature experiences that low SES children may

lack at home, but which can be provided at a day care center.

It has been accepted that young children need the ex-

perience of hearing stories read. Schickedanz (1978) stated

that therewere specific skills children learn during the

story reading experience, one of which is memorizing the

story. The ability to remember and tell a story serves the

purpose of helping the child develop a story schema, a set

of expectations about what is contained in a story. The

best teaching method to help low SES black children develop

a story schemawas the focus of this study.

There are varying views concerning the best teaching

methods to use with low SES preschoolers. Becker and Engel-

man (ote 4)of the Oregon Direct Instruction model emphasized

individual and group classroom drill on basic skills as the

best teaching method. They pointed out the positive overall

performance of the didactic direct instruction models in the

Follow Through Evaluations. Bereiter and Engelman (1966) as-

serted that direct instructionwas the best teaching tech-

nique for low SES children. Programs like DISTAR did raise

scores on reading readiness skill tests, but these same

children fell below the national average on the reading

comprehension test of the Metropolitan Achievement Test

(Becker, 1977; Bruner, 1968). It seems obvious that direct

instructionwas the best method for teaching skill










hierarchies but probably not for teaching higher order

thought. The focus of the present studywas a higher order

mental process, story comprehension.

Comprehension of stories develops through quality ex-

periences with literature. The development of a young

child's total language, syntax, semantics, phonology, and

vocabulary enables the child to be a better reader

(Livo, 1972). One theorist stated that the best precursor

to reading achievement was a program of total language de-

velopment which was filled with interverbal communication

(Livo, 1972). The two treatments in this study,

story enactment and teacher-led discussion, were aimed at

immersing the child in verbal interaction in order to facil-

itate the development of a story schema. This mental idea

of story elements help the child to better understand

stories when read (Rumelhart, 1975).

This review will begin by discussing reading readiness

and how a story schema develops through exposure and memor-

ization, and this aids story comprehension. Research stud-

ies which have utilized formal elements of a story as a de-

pendent measure will be reviewed next. The teaching meth-

ods used to teach low SES children reading readiness in the

past will be reviewed with particular attention to language

deficits and difficulty in reading. Finally, the two meth-

ods which have been helpful in teaching children story com-

prehension, story enactment and teacher-led discussion

will be discussed.










Reading Readiness


Ideas about what reading is fall into two camps. One

states that reading is a hierarchy of skills which can best

be taught by direct instruction (Becker, 1977; Bruner, 1968).

The other camp states that reading is an interactive process

between reader and whole text in which meaning is the cen-

tral element (Downing, 1979; Goodman, 1981; Smith, 1978).

The holistic concept of reading is more learner-centered

than the skill hierarchy approach. Ideas about reading

readiness differ according to which side of the reading

argument one accepts. The authors who advocate holistic

meaning approach to reading emphasize the gestalt of the

reading episode, for example, knowing that books tell stor-

ies, knowing that book talk is different from conversation,

memorizing and inventing stories (Clay, 1972; Schickedanz,

1978; Smith, 1978). These are broad language concepts which

develop over time with exposure to literature. This study

examined two methods of teaching children how to

approach the reading experience with these broad language

concepts needed for comprehending print. Preparing chil-

dren to be holistically ready to readwas a broad goal of

this study.

The ability to tell a story has been highly correlated

with reading readiness. In one study children were read

"Peter Rabbit" 10 times. Then they were asked to state as










many incidents as they could recall about the story. There

was a .78 correlation with the Lee-Clark Reading Readiness

Test (Livo, 1972). The knowledge children gain by experienc-

ing literature helps them develop the mental scaffolding

needed to comprehend when they read in later years (Livo,

1972).) The two most important resources children bring to

the reading experience are competence in oral language and

the knowledge that reading is the expression of and compre-

hension of meaning (Goodman, 1981). The meaning approach to

reading and reading readiness emphasizes the communicative

nature of the reading act. Reading is getting information

from books and gaining an understanding of what is contained

in books constitutes reading readiness (Downing, 1979).

This orientation is the view adopted by this research study.

Cognitive psychologists state that human beings inter-

pret experience through existing mental structures, schemata,

which aid human comprehension. It is important for children

to develop story schemata to enable them to better compre-

hend the stories they read or are read to them (Durkin,

1981; Rumelhart, 1975).



Story Comprehension


John Bransford (1979) in his book Human Cognition ex-

plores the relationship between schema theory and comprehen-

sion. The concept of schemata is derived from the work of










Piaget and Kant (Bransford, 1979). Schemata are also called

scripts or frames. Schemata characterize the way in which

conceptual structures are built. A story schema helps or-

ganize the information in the story in a logical, coherent

manner. A restaurant schema would include a sequence of

events which occur in a restaurant. Human comprehension de-

pends upon these schemata and subschemata (the sequence in-

herent in the entire script) to make sense of what will be

read and understood (Bransford, 1979).

We all depend on our prior knowledge of the world and

prior experience to help us reason about events or situations.

Bransford (1979) states that


Comprehension consists of: (1) finding a
schema that fits a particular input [i.e.,
at a birthday party, or that sequence of
events which constitute a birthday party.]
(2) discovering those entities that corres-
pond to particular roles required in the
schema, (3) making inferences to fill in
the gaps in the story. (p. 185)


Bransford (1979) discusses the role of inference in compre-

hension. Comprehension depends on one's ability to think

inferentially and make assumptions based on general knowl-

edge. Understanding stories requires one to make assump-

tions concerning relations between events. People make

sense of what is heard or read by connecting the events of

a story in some logical way. Readers or listeners "fill in

the gaps" of a story based on their experience level.










The holistic model of teaching reading,which the the-

ories of story schema fit into, states that reading compre-

hension is an interactive process in which both text and

world knowledge play key roles (Durkin, 1981; Rumelhart,

1975). Low SES children need quality experiences with lit-

erature to develop story schemata for better understanding

and integration of what is read.



Formal Elements of a Story


In an attempt to discover how children think about

stories, some researchers have analyzed stories told by

children. This analysis has revealed there are certain

elements of a story. Three studies will be reviewed in

this section. The first study is by Applebee (1978), who

analyzed the 360 stories collected by Pitcher and Prelinger

(1963). The stories were told by middle class American

two, three and four year olds in response to the question,

"Tell me a story." Applebee scored these stories for for-

mal elements: formal opening, formal closing, the use of

consistent past tense. All three conventions showed a

steady rise from two-five years. Applebee also found that

number of words, number of T-units, number of characters,

number of incidents, and average number of words per T-unit

all showed a consistent and significant rise with age

whether considered individually or as a set.











Table 1.
Use of Formal Elements of a Story
by Applebee (1978) p. 163


Age 2 Age 3 Age 4 Age 5 Chi-Square

Formal 30.0 43.3 76.7 86.7 26.87 (significant)
Beginning

Formal 0.0 13.3 13.3 46.7 23.82 (significant)
Ending

Consistent 63.3 80.0 93.3 86.7 9.63 (significant)
Past Tense



Isbell (1979) used a story reading and storytelling

condition with 12 middle class subjects who were four and

five years old. Contemporary children's stories were used.

Isbell studied the same dependent measures that Applebee de-

veloped. She found that the storytelling group included

more incidents in the retelling, more formal endings, and

conversational quotations. One weakness of Isbell's study

was the small number of subjects. It is difficult to draw

conclusions about a treatment with only six subjects in each

treatment, but her findings do correspond to those of Apple-

bee.

Milner (1982) conducted a study utilizing an eight

week story enactment treatment with four year olds at Baby

Gator Research Center, in Gainesville, Florida. Milner meas-

ured the effect of her fairy tale curriculum with several

outcome measures of oral language, formal story elements










[similar to Applebee (1978) and Isbell (1979)] empathy, and

reading readiness. She found significant effects for condi-

tion on the empathy measure, formal opening, number of char-

acters mentioned and total score for the use of formal story

elements. Milner's subjects completed a retelling task and

tapes were analyzed by the experimenter. The control group

in Milner's study were read contemporary children's stories

instead of fairy tales. Milner's curriculum was a total in-

tegration of the fairy tale story throughout the entire pre-

school curriculum. Since she was a teacher in the school

where the treatment was held, she planned numerous activities

every day which related to that week's story. Milner's re-

sults are limited in that they can only be generalized to a

small population -preschoolrchildren of college students.

The research on formal story elements concludes that

children's concept of a story grows from age two to five in

formal elements of a story included in a retelling task

(Applebee, 1978). Milner's (1982)study demonstrated that

middle income children of student parents can grow in story

comprehension as measured on total formal elements of a

story through exposure to thematic-fantasy play.



Low Socioeconomic Status Black Children:
Language Development and Reading Readiness


The language of a low income child differs from the lan-

guage of a middle income child. These differences have been










researched thoroughly concluding that the crucial differ-

ence between lower-class children and middle-class children

is not in the quality of language but in its use (Deutsch,

1967). Low SES children generally have scores on language

tests which are below their mental ages. Deutsch (1967)

stated that "being lower class, black or white, makes for

lower language scores."

Research has paid specific attention to the language

of low SES children drawing the following conclusions:

(1) they have limited language ability;

(2) they possess syntactic inferiority;

(3) they use more simple sentences;

(4) they use more mispronounced words;

(5) they have deficits in auditory attention and in-

terpretation skills;

(6) they lack some communication skills;

(7) they lack adequate adult models in the environ-

ment;

(8) they have a restricted vocabulary (Dunn, Neville,

Pfost, Pochanart, & Bruininks, 1968, page 8).

Low SES children generally understand more language than

they use. The school setting may be particularly difficult

for them to adjust to because school language is so differ-

ent from the low income child's language.

Language proficiency is highly correlated to reading

achievement (Livo, 1972). Because of the limited language










proficiency lower-class children possess, they are 4 to 10

times more likely to be poor readers in comparison to the

entire school population (Dunn et al., 1968). Low SES chil-

dren enter school less ready to learn to read in comparison

to advantaged children (Dunn et al., 1968). For this reason

the low SES population has been the focus of a great deal of

reading readiness research.

The reading readiness skills identified 10 to 20 years

ago as the best predictors of reading achievement were the

isolated skills of knowing letter sounds and names, auditory

blending and visual discrimination. Facilitating the read-

ing achievement of low SES children in school settings was

the focus of such programs as DISTAR. The Follow Through

Evaluations show that direct instructionwas the best method

for teaching low SES children the hierarchy of reading readi-

ness skills mentioned above (Bereiter & Engelman, 1966).

The DISTAR program did raise achievement to one standard de-

viation above the national norm on the WRAT (word recogni-

tion subtest). However, on the reading comprehension test

of the MAT, these same students fell below the national norm

(Becker, 1977). This research points out the weakness of

the Direct Instruction Model for teaching a complex global

ability like reading comprehension.

New ideas about reading readiness emphasize the impor-

tance of understanding the meaning behind an author's mes-

sage (Smith, 1978). Theorists now assert that low-income










children need teaching strategies which enable them to ver-

balize with peers and use motor abilities (Dunn et al.,

1968). The story enactment treatment in this study seems

ideal, then, for this population to facilitate story compre-

hension, a very important reading readiness skill for pre-

readers. Story enactment was derived from the developmental

theory of play and its value for young children as their

natural mode of learning.



Play and Young Children


What is the value of play? Many theories have stated

that adaptive intelligence involves both differentiation and

integration. Piaget (1962) called this accommodation and

assimilation. The value of play rests in the process of in-

tegrating and consolidating recent learning and conceptual-

ization. Play develops from a self-directed activity in

which children imitate actions to an other-directed activity

which includes social interaction and language. Play can be

defined as voluntary, pleasurable activity which is not goal-

directed or dependent on the restraints of time and space.

In play elements of reality are incorporated into the imag-

ination. Play is active, structured, symbolic activity in-

volving mental processes which develop adaptive intelligence.

The preschool child makes use of a new psychological

process upon arrival at Piaget's preoperational stage,










symbolic play (Piaget, 1962). Symbolic ability allows the

child to call up objects or actions which are not present,

but have been observed. Play is the fusion of reality and

fantasy. Through use of symbols and signs (language), the

child begins to think abstractly.


In play, thought is separated from objects
and action arises from ideas rather than
things: a piece of wood becomes a doll and
a stick becomes a horse. . It is ter-
ribly difficult for a child to sever thought
(the meaning of a word) from object.(Vygot-
sky, 1978, p. 97)

The very young child is bound to every ac-
tion by situational constraints . it is
impossible for very young children to sepa-
rate the field of meaning from the visual
field because there is such intimate fusion
between meaning and what is seen. (Vygot-
sky, 1978, pp. 96-97)


The preschooler can call up mental images of objects,

actions, and situations. Play allows manipulation of reality

through fantasy. Young children who are developing symbolic

ability need specific objects for play. However, as the

child grows older, fewer props are needed and words suffice

as symbols. Abstract thought has arrived. Play provides the

meaningful context in which children can develop competent

language use. Stern, Bragdon, and Gordon (1976) identified

three cognitive areas directly related to symbolic play.

These are the use of symbolic representation, involvement

(focus of attention), and language.










During symbolic play, small groups of children pretend,

verbalize, problem-solve and use their primitive conceptions

of the reality of meaning. Verbalization during play is cru-

cial to the development of linguistic meaning and thought

(Jurkovic, 1978; Vygotsky, 1978).


The relation of thought to word is not a
thing but a process, a continual movement
back and forth from thought to word and
from word to thought. . Thought is not
merely expressed in words; it comes into
existence through them. Every thought
tends to connect something with something
else, to establish a relationship between
things. Every thought moves, grows, and
develops, fulfills a function, solves a
problem. (Vygotsky, 1962, p. 125)


The basis of all cognition is flexibility and fluency with

symbols. This develops in young children through the mean-

ingful experience of play.

The development of symbolic language and thought compe-

tence in children has its roots in late infancy with the

emergence of representational, symbolic ability (Piaget,

1962). Piaget (1962) stated that in the fourth stage of the

six sensori-motor schemes, an infant will search for an ob-

ject that has been placed out of the child's visual field,

i.e., under a blanket. This searching on the part of the in-

fant demonstrates that the child has a mental image of an ab-

sent object. This is the beginning of symbolic activity.

The gradual freeing of the symbol from what it represents

leads to symbolic behavior as an autonomous medium, such as

language.










Gowen (Note 5) has defined and identified the important

elements of symbolic play. She defined symbolic play as

using inanimate objects as animate, performing everyday ac-

tivities in the absence of materials (i.e., drinking out of

an empty cup), substitution of one object for another, role-

playing, and novel or unusual endings to play activities.

Seventy-eight percent of the children in her study did play

symbolically. Gowen identified three structural elements to

symbolic play: the signifier (child or object), the signi-

fied (objects or beings), and the mode of representation.

She found that three-four year olds used objects more often

to pretend and four-five year old children used more verbal

communication without objects and actions. This supports

Vygotsky's assertion that meaning is derived from action and

objects, and that verbal symbols become adequate for convey-

ing meaning with maturity.

The two major theorists who have contributed most to

discussions of playwereVygotsky and Piaget. Their orien-

tations were similar in some ways, yet very different in oth-

ers. Piaget believed playwas intelligent behavior involving

processes of assimilation over accommodation (Piaget, 1962).

By encoding symbols, the egocentric preschool child has a

method of rethinking the reality of past experience and as-

similating these experiences into existing mental structures

(Fein, 1979). Vygotsky, in contrast, saw play as an emo-

tional process in which the child seeks to reduce tension










and understand the social meaning of the world. To Piaget

child's play was an egocentric experience, to Vygotsky it was

a social experience in learning the social code of the cul-

ture, language (Fein, 1979).

The story enactment treatment in this study incorpo-

rated all the benefits of play as a social experience in

learning. The structure of a story provided the conceptual

framework for the play episode. The roles of characters in

the story provided the vehicle for peer-peer interaction with

dialogue, actions and appropriate props. This researcher

hypothesized that the social interactive mode of learning,

story enactment, may be a good way to teach low SES black

children to appreciate and comprehend literature which, in

turn, may make them better readers.

Theories state that play facilitates symbolic develop-

ment. Acting "as if" objects or actions are real helps young

children develop representational ability (Vygotsky, 1978).

Story enactment may be especially appropriate for low SES

children to help them develop their skills with symbol ma-

nipulation. Story enactment may be the mental mediation

necessary for young children who are not verbally precocious

to develop complex mental abilities like story comprehension.



Story Enactment and Story Comprehension


There are six studies which have used a story enactment

treatment as an independent variable to facilitate story






Table 2.
Studies which Relate to the Proposed Study


Pelligrini Silvern Silvern Milner Saltz Carlton Proposed
& Galda et al. et al. (1982) et al. & Moore Study
(1982) (Note 4) (Note 5) (1977) (1968)


Age of
Subjects

Number of
Subjects

Treatment
Length

Levels of the
independent
Variable


Types of
Stories Used



Who imple-
mented
treatments

Results


5-9


505


8 weeks


5-8


340


8 weeks


5-7


108


1 treatment
2 trng ses.

teacher-led
discussion
*TFP and
drawing

fairy tales




researcher



TFP signifi-
cant for story
comprehension


4 years


60


8 weeks


3-4 years 6-10 years 4 years


80


1 year


TFP and TFP, socio-
control dramatic play,
discussion, &
control

fairy tales fairy tales


teachers one
of which was
researcher

TFP significant
for total ele-
ments of story
& empathy


Dependent 1-two factor 1-story recall 1-story recall 1-story recall
Measures criterion ref- Steins 12 Steins 12 task 2-empathy
erenced test propositions propositions measure 3-read-
2-retelling 2-Borke's IPT 2-Borke's IPT ing readiness

4-oral language


SES rural low SES rural low SES rural

*Thematic Fantasy Play


middle income


120 100 approx.


14 weeks 4 weeks


self-directed story enactment,
dramatization teacher-led
discussion


children
self-selected
stories


fairy tales


self-directed dramatization
and control & teacher-led
discussion
control

contemporary 6 unfamiliar
children's stories, and
stories 6 familiar
fairy tales

teachers teachers
were were
trained trained

dramatization significant
for story comprehension


teachers some teachers teachers
of which were were were trained
researchers trained

TFP signifi- self-directed
cant for gains dramatization
in IQ & sequen-treatment sig-
tial memory & nificant for
empathy reading gains

1-PPVT 2-se- Gray-Votaw- formal elements
quential mem- Rogers Achieve-of a story on 2
ory 3-fantasy ment test on stories and CRT
judgment test vocabulary

4-empathy for primary
5-story in- & intermediate
terprctation grades
test 6-impulse
control

low SES low SES low SES










comprehension. These studies all indicate story enactment

has a significant effect on story comprehension even though

story comprehension was measured in different ways. A chart

which summarizes the data of these studies follows.



Play Training


Saltz, Dixon and Johnson (1977) conducted a study in

which low SES preschoolers were trained in one of three

types of fantasy activities during a school year. The 80

subjects were randomly assigned to four groups. The exper-

imental sessions were 15 minutes three days per week for

each group. The treatments were thematic-fantasy play,

(acting out fairy tales), socio-dramatic play, fantasy dis-

cussion, and a control condition which was a regular pre-

school curriculum. Subjects were pretested on the PPVT.

An alternate form of the PPVT was one posttest. Subjects

were given another posttest, the story interpretation test,

which measured their ability to relate events to one another

and to measure causal relations. Sequential memory was mea-

sured by telling the child a story with five simple pictures

After hearing the story the child was given the pictures in

random order and asked to put them in their correct order to

tell the story. This procedure was repeated with a second

story. Also measured in this study were empathy and impulse

control (Saltz, Dixon, & Johnson, 1977).










This study isolated the elements of the socio-dramatic

play and thematic fantasy play which were important for the

development of cognitive processes. One important element

seemed to be the play enactment and the use of symbols. An-

other important element was the motoric component inherent

in the treatment. Children moved when acting out situations

or stories. The role changes required for more complex pat-

terns of behavior in response to changes in situations and

people in the episode were important. Thematic fantasy play,

in particular, seemed to facilitate the ability to perceive

causal relationships. This study has consistently had im-

pressive results: an average gain of 23 IQ points for the

play-training groups versus an average gain of 16 IQ points

for the control groups.

The present study examined the utilization of a play-

training model similar to that used by Saltz, Dixon, and

Johnson (1977). Three groups were utilized, one in which

stories were enacted, one in which the teacher led

a discussion after reading the story, and a control condi-

tion in which the children just beard the same stories

read.

Pelligrini and Galda (1982) did a similar study with 108

low SES black children, 54 boys and 54 girls, in kindergar-

ten, first and second grade. The children were randomly as-

signed to one of three treatment conditions, thematic fantasy

play, adult-led discussion or drawing. The children in the










thematic fantasy play group enacted roles in fairy tales.

The adult-led discussion group did not participate in fan-

tasy reconstruction with peers, but after hearing the fairy

tale read discussed the story with the teacher. Children

in the drawing condition were read the fairy tale and given

blank paper and crayons and asked to draw as much about the

story as they could.

The three treatment conditions were carried out with

nine groups of four children within each grade. Each group

consisted of two boys and two girls. A researcher carried

out all the treatment conditions. One of the dependent mea-

sures in this study was performance on a criterion-referenced

test of 10 questions about the last story which was read.

The total number and sequence of events recalled about the

story in a retelling task was the other dependent measure.

The story retellings were broken down into nine main constit-

uents, setting, seven episodes and conclusion. Retellings

were scored as including the constituent if the "gist" was

included irrespective of order. Retellings were also scored

for sequence.

ANOVA analysis revealed that the play group in this

study (x = 5.888) scored significantly higher for condition

than both the discussion (x = 4.722) and drawing (x = 3.666)

groups. The discussion group scored higher than the drawing

group as evidenced by the means. The significant effect for

grade indicated that older children did better than younger










children. Second graders x = 6.361) scored significantly

higher than first graders (x = 4.611). First graders

scored higher than kindergarteners (x = 3.305).

The results of this study indicate that story compre-

hensionwas a function of two factors, age and training in

verbally reconstructing the story. Second graders outper-

formed the younger children. On the criterion-referenced

test measuring story comprehension, children who were ex-

posed to thematic-fantasy play or adult led discussion an-

swered correctly more story related comprehension ques-

tions. For kindergarteners and first graders, thematic-

fantasy play provided the most effective means of understand-

ing stories.

This study was similar in several ways to the Pelligrini

and Galda study. This study included a thematic fantasy

play treatment and a teacher-led discussion treatment. The

third group was a drawing group, but a condition in

which the children heard the same stories read. The popula-

tion was younger, i.e., four year olds. Therewas a similar-

ity in one dependent measure, the retelling task, although

the tapes were analyzed according to formal elements of

a story originated by Applebee (1978).

Pelligrini and Galda (1982) provide support for two

methods of encoding language to promote story comprehension,

thematic fantasy play and adult-led discussion. More re-

search is needed with younger children, though, in order to










conclude that younger children are incapable of understand-

ing stories as well as older children.

Carlton and Moore (1968) studied children in first

through fifth grade over a period of eight years. They

used a story enactment treatment called self-directive dram-

atization. The authors defined self-directive dramatization

of stories as referring to the pupil's own original, imag-

inative, spontaneous interpretation of a character of his/

her own choosing in the story which is selected and read co-

operatively with other pupils in his group. It wasnot chil-

dren putting on plays or dramatics. Of particular interest

to this research was the chapter on the use of self-directive

dramatization with 120 culturally disadvantaged pupils. The

school population used in this part of the study was 85 per-

cent black. Children in grades one through four were in-

cluded in the treatment. Experimental subjects who received

exposure to self-directive dramatization were matched with

control subjects who did not receive the training but partic-

ipated in a basal reading program.

The children were exposed to the self-directive ap-

proach. They began by learning how to select stories they

wanted to read. They read to each other in groups of two.

They dramatized parts of stories that the teacher read to

them and by acting out a character for the other children

to guess. The classroom teachers carried out the treatment










which lasted for 14 weeks. Usually self-directive drama-

tization took place two or three times a week.

The dependent measure used in this study was the Gray-

Votaw-Rogers Achievement Test (vocabulary and paragraph

meaning section) to ascertain reading gains. Although not

familiar to this researcher, this dependent measure seemed

highly related to story comprehension. The results of this

study show that the experimental group scored significantly

better than the control group in all grades. Self-concept

was also improved through self-directive dramatization.

This study supports other studies in the following conclu-

sion; whether called self-directive dramatization, thematic-

fantasy play or just story enactment, children taking roles

and acting out stories with some teacher participation was

facilitative for promoting conceptual growth such as story

comprehension. Although used with older children, it will

be possible to adapt the self-directed approach outlined by

Carlton and Moore with the following changes. The choice of

stories was decided by the researcher. Since children

are younger the story enactment groups need to be four

to a group. Teachers may take a

more active role, either by taking a role or narrating the

enactment.

The self-directed dramatization method was used by Sil-

vern, Williamson, Taylor, Surbeck andKelley (Note 1), a

group of researchers at Auburn. They have done two studies











utilizing a play treatment to facilitate story comprehen-

sion. The first study involved self-directed dramatization.

Thirteen teachers near Auburn, Alabama, conducted the self-

directive dramatization treatment and control conditions.

There were 505 children, aged five to nine years, 266 boys

and 239 girls, from a rural environment, in 26 intact,

rural public and private school classrooms participating in

the study. The population was low to middle SES with no

racial information given. The same six stories were used

as stimuli in treatment and control conditions. They were

contemporary children's books chosen by the investigators.

Teachers reviewed the books to insure that the books were

unfamiliar to the children. To be sure that the children's

actions were not based on past experience with the stories,

teachers read from typed copies with no pictures as stimuli.

Teachers were trained in how to carry out self-directed

dramatization. The researchers found that the children in

the treatment group had significant increases in story re-

call. Story recall in this study was measured according to

Stein's (1980) 12 propositions formed into 10 multiple

choice questions.

Silvern, Williamson, Taylor, and Kelley (Note 2) con-

ducted another study measuring children's story recall as a

product of play, story familiarity and adult intervention.

There were 340 children in this study in 20 intact classrooms,

in kindergarten through third grade. There was no information








on sex, race or SES given in the article. The same multi-

ple choice test was used as in the previous study. Teach-

ers were trained in the self-dramatization process. Teach-

ers in the treatment group read the class a story and imme-

diately the children acted out the story. In the control

group the teacher read a story to the class and conducted

a discussion. The treatment group did significantly better

on story recall.

Two separate sets of stimuli were used, one set was

unfamiliar, one was familiar. The unfamiliar set included

the contemporary stories used in the first study reviewed

by Silvern et al. (Note 1). The familiar group of stories

were the classic fairy tales, i.e., Three Pigs, Three Bears.

Teachers read from typed copies of the content of the stor-

ies.

Five of the cooperating teachers in the treatment con-

dition volunteered to take a facilitative role in the play,

and five took a directive role in the play. The teachers

were trained in self-directive dramatization techniques.

The play treatment did significantly better on story recall.

These results support the other studies in this section

which have found significant results with story enactment.

The teachers stated that novel stories should be used if

children are not playing them out.

In summary, the studies utilizing a story enactment

treatment have consistently had impressive positive results.

With older children, story enactment facilitated better










reading comprehension. With young children, story enact-

ment helped children recall story elements as measured in

a retelling task.



Teacher-led Discussion


The teacher questioning technique is a widely used

method to teach reading comprehension. When teachers ask

the right questions, experience and research support the

value of this technique (Guszak, 1967). Pure recall ques-

tioning is deemed trivial and not very useful by reading

specialists (Guszak, 1967; Hare, 1982). Reading is a reason-

ing process which involves inferential thinking, evaluation,

explanation, prediction and conjecture (Downing, 1969).

Guszak (1967) did a study of teachers in second, fourth and

sixth grade. They asked 70 percent literal questions con-

cerned with the factual makeup of stories. Questioning

techniques which help children exercise higher order thought

processes stimulated better reading comprehension.

Pearson and Johnson (1978) developed a taxonomy for

evaluating the entire comprehension question-response se-

quence. The three classes of question-response sequences

were: (1) textually explicit--this requires no inferential

thinking, just literal recall; (2) textually implicit--this

requires reading between the lines and making inferences;

(3) scriptally implicit--this requires reading beyond the










lines and relying on story schema--and prior knowledge--to

integrate story material. Reading approaches which empha-

size meaning tend to stress more scriptally implicit ques-

tion information to develop comprehension (Hare, 1982). In

preparing young children in reading readiness, teachers

need to be aware of the value of developing story schemata

to help children comprehend reading material.

Teacher-led discussion designed to develop story sche-

mata in young children was chosen as a treatment in this

study. The questions the teachers used were developed from

elements of a story by Applebee (1978) and Rumelhart's

(1975) story grammar. Rumelhart's (1975) grammar waschosen

as a basis for discussion method in this study because of

its simplicity. The first part of the story grammar is the

setting. Then the initiating event sets the story in mo-

tion. The main character then reacts with some feeling,

thought, desire or goal which motivates action. Finally,

the action is responsible for some consequence, (Sadow,

(1982).

In this study a discussion wasused as an alternate

method to teach children the elements of stories. Discus-

sion may prove as effective or more effective than the story

enactment treatment. If both methods of teaching are effec-

tive, teachers could alternate methods or use discussion

only if it proves as good as story enactment. Fairy tales

are chosen as the most appropriate type of literature to










use because of structure, characters and appeal to chil-

dren.



Fairy Tales


The magic of fairy tales and their appeal to children

have been addressed by several authors. Bettleheim (1977)

states that fairy tales are important for healthy emotional

development of the child. Children's identification with

the conflicts and problems dealt with in these stories pro-

vides motivation for role-playing during play. Fairy tales

are full of fantasy situations. Children identify with the

central hero/heroine of the tale. Interest in the fairy

tale emerges in the pre-reading age and declines at about

10 years of age (Favat, Note 3).

Why do children like fairy tale literature? Piaget

(1962) has described the thought processes of the young

child in great detail. His beliefs about children and the

elements of the fairy tale help form the rationale for us-

ing a fairy tale curriculum with preschool children. The

child's belief in magic, animism, the morality of constraint,

and the transformations the child performs in play correlate

well with the content of the fairy tale (Favat, Note 3).

Animism, giving human characteristics to objects and animals,

is present in fairy tales. Moral justice in fairy tales

usually entails punishment for evil doings. This is










the morality of constraint. The fairy tale is a stable men-

tal construction of magic, animism, and authority. Fairy

tales appeal to the preschooler because of these qualities

(Favat, Note 3).

Children respond to the form of the fairy tale: its

regulated patterns (beginning and ending,) use of repetition,

patterned contrastive repetition, the simple nature of the

plot, cause and effect and short length. Saltz, Dixon

and Johnson (1977) attributed the benefits of thematic-fan-

tasy play training to several components of acting out fairy

tales. First, fairy tale enactment allowed children to deal

with events and themes extremely remote from their personal

experiences. Secondly, the strong plots in fairy tales and

their inherent cause and effect relationship improved chil-

dren's comprehension of causal relations. Third, the mo-

toric aspect of acting out fairy tales facilitated the par-

ticipation of children. Vygotsky (1962) stated that behav-

ing toward an object as if it were something other than what

it actually is is a basic factor in the development of mean-

ing and cognition of the child.

A fairy tale curriculum was chosen for this study

because of its appeal to preschool children for the reasons

discussed (Favat, Note 3). The plots of the storieswere strong

and simple, easy to understand, and there were causal rela-

tions inherent in the stories which facilitate comprehension

skills like cause and effect and sequencing.









Summary


Young children need quality experiences with litera-

ture to develop reading readiness skills, such as story com-

prehension. A method of enhancing story comprehension is

to develop a story schema, a set of expectations about how a

story fits together in a coherent, meaningful whole (Rumel-

hart, 1975). Low SES preschoolers have been the target of

research concerning reading readiness as defined by know-

ing letter sounds and names, visual and auditory discrimina-

tion. The best method for teaching this population these

reading readiness skills was direct instruction (Becker,

1977; Bruner, 1968). However, the same children who devel-

oped isolated reading readiness skills did poorly on compre-

hension tests (Bereiter & Engelman, 1966). This led

to the conclusion that direct instruction in phonics and

isolated skills does not enhance story comprehension. The

best method for teaching young children story schema for

the development of story comprehension is in the process of

being researched. Studies which have utilized a story en-

actment treatment have concluded that story enactment is

helpful for developing story comprehension. Teacher-led

discussion, the traditional method of teaching comprehen-

sion, has proved effective for developing story schema if

inferential questions are used. The treatments in this

study, story enactment of fairy tales and teacher-led dis-






44



cussion of fairy tales, were chosen because they seem most

appropriate for helping young children develop story sche-

mata which will, in turn, help them comprehend stories bet-

ter.














CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY



This study extended the knowledge about how low income

black low socioeconomic status four year olds recalled

story information. The treatments in this study repre-

sented two teaching modes, a structured yet abstract dis-

cussion led by the teacher and a structured, active treat-

ment in which children were read a story, assigned roles,

and then enacted the story in groups of four with active par-

ticipation by the teacher. The control group in this study

heard the same stories but did not participate in discussion

or enactment.

Subjects


Subjects were 45 four year old children in six Alachua

County Coordinated Child Care centers which are funded by

Title XX federal funds. Title XX is a federal program

which subsidizes the cost of daycare for parents who are

working or in training for employment in some institution.

The children who attend these centers are from low socio-

economic status homes. All of the children who participated

in this study were black and four years old (3.5 4.5

years). Seventeen children were lost from the study.







Sample Selection

Eight teacher volunteers were solicited through the

administrative office of Alachua County Coordinated Child

Care. Treatments were randomly assigned to these volun-

teers. The use of volunteers makes this study susceptible

to external validity threats. The sample of 45 low income

black children was chosen in order to broaden the general-

ization of the results of this study. Research has shown

story enactment facilitates middle income children's cogni-

tion of formal elements of a story (Milner, 1982).


Variables

There were three levels of one independent variable,

the story enactment treatment, the teacher-led discussion

treatment, and the control condition in which the teacher

read to the group and there was no enactment or discussion.

The dependent variables were formal elements in two stories

told by children: formal opening, formal closing, story

unity, number of characters mentioned, number of incidents,

and number of conversational quotations. The recall section

of the story comprehension was a criterion-referenced test.


Instrumentation

The Test of Early Language, by Hresko, Reid and Ham-

mill (Note 6), is a new test of receptive and expressive

language. The test gives information by item










related to the content and form aspects of language. The

TELD was impressive in reference to reliability and valid-

ity. This will be reported in detail.

The TELD was normed on 1184 children in 11 states and

1 Canadian province. Norms are provided for every six month

interval from 3-0 to 7-11 years. Since this test will be

used for a black population, it should be stated that 8 per-

cent of the norming population for the TELD was black. This

corresponds to a comparable 11 percent of the nation which

is black.

Reliability of the TELD has been computed in two areas,

content and time. Internal consistency, or the degree of

homogeneity among the items within the test, yielded a coef-

ficient alpha of .91 for the four year old group. The stan-

dard error of measure spanned 1.75 to 2.0 for ages three to

seven and was 2.10 for four year olds. Coefficient alpha

for all ages averaged to .90. Test retest reliability with

two weeks between tests was computed using 177 children in

Dallas who were three to seven years old. Correlations were:

three year old group = .84, four year old group = .72, five

year old group = .86, six year old group = .85, and seven

year old group = .87. The correlation on the total 177 was

.90.

Validity reported included criterion-related and con-

struct. For criterion-related validity, correlations were

done with other valued measures of performance established











tests. Results are reported for each age level except four

years. Scores on TELD by three year olds were correlated

with the Zimmerman Preschool Language Scale equalling .46.

The correlation of TELD with TOLD for five year olds was

.66. The authors state that all tests run are significant

beyond the .01 level of significance and are large enough

to support the TELD's criterion-related validity. Construct

validity is reported in two ways. Age of child and mean raw

scores ascend developmentally as evidenced by the following

figures:


Mean Raw Score

3 years 8.7

4 years 14.9

5 years 22.4

6 years 26.3

7 years 31.5


Information on construct validity was computed by relating

the TELD scores at different ages to tests of intellectual

development, reading and school readiness. For four year

olds, the correlation with the Test of Early Reading was .54.

For five year olds the correlation with the Slosson Intelli-

gence Test was .75.

The CRT was developed by the experimenter. Teachers

participating in the study were asked to write down the ques-

tions which they thought were important for recall on Little










Red Riding Hood. From these questions the experimenter com-

piled a list of factual and inferential questions. Ques-

tions four and nine were the only inferential questions

asked. The other questions were factual (Appendix A). Cor-

rect answers and a distractor were provided for the ques-

tions. Since different versions of the story were used,

some questions had several answers which were counted cor-

rect. The procedure was that the teacher asked the question

and paused four or five seconds. Then the child was given

the correct answer and the distractor.

Formal elements of a story to be used in this study

were taken from The Child's Concept of a Story by Applebee

(1978). Audiotapes were recorded of children in the two

treatments and control group retelling two stories, after

the curriculum was completed. One story was the last in

the series of four and one was a less familiar story which

was not included in the curriculum. These tapes were num-

bered and coded by the experimenter. Formal elements will

be treated as separate dependent variables. Treatment and

control groups were compared as to whether the element was

included or not. The elements are: formal opening, formal

closing, unity. Number of incidents, number of characters

and number of conversational quotations were counted. There

were a total of eight dependent variables for each story.









Design


A three group pretest/posttest quasiexperimental de-

sign was utilized. Analysis of covariance was used for the

data analysis. The covariate was the pretest TELD score.


0 X O O

0 X O O

O X O O


TELD Retelling CRT
pretest tasks

X1 = story enactment treatment

X2 = teacher-led discussion treatment

X = control group--teacher reads only


C T, T,


I I I I


C = control group

T1 = story enactment group

T2 = teacher-led discussion group



Data Collection


Volunteer teachers were solicited through the Alachua

County Coordinated Child Care administrative office. Treat-

ments were randomly assigned to eight teachers, and workshops










were provided for them. Four year old students of the vol-

unteer teachers were the subjects of this study.

A site visit schedule was formulated. The site visits

were scheduled at least once a week for each participating

teacher. Each teacher was visited a minimum of four times.

Records were kept on the progress of the treatments.



Hypotheses


Little Red Riding Hood

All hypotheses were tested at .05 level of significance.

Hypothesis 1. There will be no difference between four

year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discussion

or control group in frequency of including a formal opening

in the first retelling task.

Hypothesis 2. There will be no difference between four

year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discussion

or control group in frequency of including formal closing in

the first retelling task.

Hypothesis 3. There will be no difference between four

year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discussion

or control group in unity of thematic development in the

first retelling task.

Hypothesis 4. There will be no significant difference

in mean scores on the pretest between four year old children










in the enactment, teacher-led discussion or teacher reads

only group.

Hypothesis 5. There will be no interaction between

treatment level and pretest score on total formal elements

of a story.

Hypothesis 6. Adjusting for differences on the pretest,

there will be no difference in mean scores for total formal

story elements between four year olds in the story enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or teacher reads only group.

Hypothesis 7. There will be no pretest by treatment

interaction on number of characters.

Hypothesis 8. There will be no difference between four

year old children in the enactment treatment, teacher-led

discussion or control group in number of characters mentioned

in the story retelling task.

Hypothesis 9. There will be no pretest by treatment

interaction on number of incidents mentioned.

Hypothesis 10. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment treatment, the

teacher-led discussion treatment or control group in number

of incidents mentioned in a story retelling task.

Hypothesis 11. There will be no pretest by treatment

interaction on number of conversational quotations.

Hypothesis 12. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment treatment, the









teacher-led discussion treatment or control group in the

number of times conversational quotations are used in a

story retelling task.

Hypothesis 13. There will be no pretest by treatment

interaction on the total score of characters, incidents,

and conversational quotations.

Hypothesis 14. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment treatment, teacher-

led discussion and control group in total score on charac-

ters, incidents and conversational quotations.

Hypothesis 15. There will be no interaction between

treatment level and pretest score on the criterion-refer-

enced test.

Hypothesis 16. Adjusting for differences on the pre-

test, there will be no difference in mean scores on a cri-

terion-referenced test in four year olds in the story enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or teacher reads only story.


Gingerbread Man

Hypothesis 17. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment group, the teacher-

led-discussion group and the control group in the frequency

of including a formal opening in the story retelling task.

Hypothesis 18. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discus-

sion and control group in frequency of including a formal

closing in the story retelling task.










Hypothesis 19. There will be no differences between

four year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discus-

sion and control group in unity or thematic development in

the story retelling task.

Hypothesis 20. There will be no interaction between

treatment level and pretest score on formal elements of a

story score.

Hypothesis 21. Adjusting for differences on the pre-

test, there will be no difference in the mean scores for

total formal elements used in the retelling task between

four year old children in the enactment group, the teacher-

led discussion group and the control group.

Hypothesis 22. There will be no treatment by pretest

interaction on number of characters.

Hypothesis 23. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discus-

sion treatment or control group in number of characters men-

tioned in the story retelling task.

Hypothesis 24. There will be no treatment by pretest

interaction on number of incidents.

Hypothesis 25. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment, teacher-led discus-

sion and control group in number of incidents mentioned in

the retelling task.

Hypothesis 26. There will be no treatment by pretest

interaction on number of conversational quotations.










Hypothesis 27. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment, teacher-led dis-

cussion and control group in number of times conversational

quotations were used in the retelling task.

Hypothesis 28. There will be no pretest by treatment

interaction on total score on characters, incidents and

conversational quotations.

Hypothesis 29. There will be no difference between

four year old children in the enactment treatment, teacher-

led discussion and control group in total score on charac-

ters, incidents and conversational quotations.


Assumptions

The experimenter assumed that the teachers could carry

out the treatments, children could tell stories, and the co-

variate would be highly related to storytelling ability.

The assumptions for analysis of covariance were that scores

were independent, variances were equal and scores were nor-

mally distributed at each level of the covariate, that there

was no interaction between pretest and posttest, and that

there was a linear relationship between the covariate and

the dependent variable.


Procedure

There were two phases to this study, teacher training

and curriculum implementation. Separate workshops were










conducted by the experimenter for teachers in each treat-

ment, teacher-led discussion, story enactment and the con-

trol group. Teachers in the enactment treatment were pro-

vided information on these topics: (1) the importance of

developing a sense of story in the young child, (2) setting

up the environment to facilitate pretend play, i.e., props,

toys, and time during the day for pretend play, (3) how

teachers can take an active role and model appropriate be-

havior for children in pretend play situations, (4) how to

facilitate peer-peer social interaction in groups of four

children, and (5) role playing of these techniques. The

workshops for the enactment treatment were approximately

two hours total. The teachers in the discussion treatment

received training in these areas: (1) the importance of de-

veloping a sense of story in the young child, (2) the use of

questioning to help children better understand formal ele-

ments of a story, and (3) role playing of techniques. The

control teachers were taught the Reading Aloud to Children

Scale (Appendix B).

The second phase of this study was the implementation

of one of three conditions by the trained teachers. The

teacher in each condition was provided a complete kit with

everything he or she needed. The enactment group received

a kit containing props and the book. The teacher-led dis-

cussion group received a book, a script and a list of ques-

tions to use during the discussion time after reading the

story. The control group received the book only.










Teacher Training Workshops


Story Enactment Workshop

Teachers were instructed on why story enactment was a

valuable activity. Play and its importance for facilitat-

ing the young child's intellectual growth, creativity and

social skills and as the child's natural mode of learning

were discussed. Language and its link to the process of

play were also discussed. A brief review of the studies

which have utilized story enactment with positive effects

for children was presented.

The purpose of a story enactment treatment is to ex-

tend children's use of language and concept of a story.

Language competence is basic to school progress. If the

language of these children can grow in vocabulary and mean-

ing, it will be beneficial for reading achievement and

achievement in other areas. Knowledge of story structure

will also help these children with reading achievement and

general comprehension as a mental exercise in encoding in-

formation for retrieval.

The classroom environment, how it is set up and how it

operates, greatly influences the development of language ex-

tension and play. Time during the day must be allocated for

play, either with or without teacher involvement. Props are

essential to embellish play in the preschool years because

these children are just beginning to use symbols. Also,










teachers can stifle or enrich the play environment by model-

ing play behavior or setting up structured situations for

play, i.e., acting out stories. The teacher's attitude

toward play will greatly influence the outcome of the play

experiences.

The procedure to be followed was presented. Teachers

role-played the enactment procedure. Teachers read the

story before any enacting by the children. The teacher

randomly divided the class into groups of four. These same

four children enacted the stories together over the four

week treatment. The props were distributed. Groups were

invited to watch each other enact and chant the dialogue

with the speakers. The teacher might be the narrator or

might take a role. It was all right for a child to be the

leader.

After the story enactment, the teacher gave children

feedback about how they did and prepared for the next enact-

ment group. Teachers worked with two groups per day in

story enactment. One story was to be enacted each week.

Two versions of each story were given to the teacher. Mon-

day through Thursday were official days for enactment.

Friday were utilized if children were absent or for some

reason the treatment was missed one day.











Teacher-Led Discussion Workshop

The teachers in this workshop were introduced to ma-

terial on the importance of story structure and story com-

prehension. The training focused on how to carry out the

questioning technique. The importance of wait-time when

teaching through discussion was explored. Teachers were

instructed about how the questions were developed from

story schema theory. The experimenter emphasized the im-

portance of planning discussion by constructing questions

with goals in mind, i.e., formal elements of a story. An-

swers to the questions were provided in the lesson plan.

These were discussed with the teachers. Teachers were

given a set of questions for each story with specific ques-

tions for each day. The lesson plans are shown in Appen-

dices F, G, H, and I. Teachers were asked for comments and

suggestions.


Control Group Workshop

Teachers in the control group were trained in methods

of reading aloud to groups of children. The following tech-

niques were discussed: reading with expression, pointing

to words and pictures, choosing appropriate books for young

children. The Reading Aloud to Children Scale (Appendix B)

was discussed with the teachers.










Curriculum Implementation


Treatments occurred simultaneously in all centers dur-

ing the 30 minute morning story hour time. The curriculum

was implemented for four weeks. Following the four week

curriculum, children were posttested on three measures, two

retelling tasks (one familiar and one unfamiliar) and a re-

call measure, a criterion-referenced test. Children were

randomly asked to retell the last story of the literature

curriculum, Little Red Riding Hood. These retellings were

coded for formal elements of a story included by the child.

The child was asked 10 questions about Little Red Riding

Hood before retelling it. The child was read a less fa-

miliar story and asked to retell that story also. It was

also coded for formal elements of a story included by the

child. Data were analyzed and recommendations were made

for teachers on the effectiveness of each literature cur-

riculum carried out by the daycare center teachers.













CHAPTER FOUR
RESULTS



This study investigated the effects of two story treat-

ments, enactment and teacher-led discussion, on preschool

children's story comprehension. The control group listened

to the same stories read. There were 17 dependent variables

included in the posttests, two retelling tasks and one cri-

terion-referenced test designed to measure recall. The

children were asked to retell two stories, Little Red Riding

Hood and The Gingerbread Man. Little Red Riding Hood was

familiar because it was the last in the series of four in

the treatment. The other story, The Gingerbread Man, was

a less familiar story which the children in all three groups

heard read only one time. The purpose of a retelling task

with an unfamiliar story was to ascertain if the benefits

of enactment or teacher-led discussion transfer to other

situations. The criterion-referenced test was administered

on Little Red Riding Hood, which was the last in the lit-

erature curriculum for all subjects.

The three treatments did not have an equal number of

subjects. The enactment group had 25, the discussion group

had 11, and the control group had 9 subjects. The existence

of an unequal number of subjects does not seriously affect

the analysis of covariance results as long as the assump-

tions of ANCOVA are not violated.

61











Six dependent variables were analyzed by chi-square

because of the yes/no nature of the responses. The total

sample of 45 individuals was used to test these hypotheses

which concerned formal opening, formal closing and unity on

both stories. The other 11 dependent variables were ana-

lyzed by analysis of covariance. In the enactment group,

the same four children enacted the stories over the four

week period. The individuals in these groups were not in-

dependent of each other, so the means of eight groups were

used as scores for the enactment group only. Individual

scores were used for the discussion and control groups.

The sample size for all of the ANCOVA analyses was 28.

The experimenter did two analyses, one using individual

scores for all three groups (N=45) and one using the eight

group means for the subjects in the enactment group (N=28).

There was no difference in the outcome of the analysis, so

only the analysis using group means for the enactment treat-

ment was reported.



Little Red Riding Hood
Formal Elements of a Story


Formal Opening

Formal opening was defined by whether the child made

it clear a story was beginning.

Hypothesis 1: There will be no difference be-

tween four year old children in the enactment,










teacher-led discussion or control group in

frequency of including a formal opening in

the first retelling task.

The chi-square statistic was 6.229. The p value was

.0444. Hypothesis 1 was rejected at a=.05. There was a

statistically significant difference between children in the

three groups in the use of a formal opening in the retelling

task. Twenty-one out of 25 subjects in the enactment group

did not use a formal opening. Significantly fewer children

in the enactment group did not use formal opening.

Results for formal opening are shown in Table 3.



Table 3.
Chi-Square for Formal Opening
Little Red Riding Hood


Did Use Did Not Use
Group Formal Opening Formal Opening Total

Enactment 4 21 25

Discussion 6 5 11

Control 4 5 9

Total 14 31 45


N = 45

X = 6.229










Formal Closing

Formal closing was defined by whether the child made

it clear in the retelling that the story was ending.

Hypothesis 2: There will be no difference be-

tween four year old children in the enactment,

teacher-led discussion or control group in fre-

quency of including a formal closing in the first

story retelling task.

The chi-square statistic was 3.410. The p value was

.1818. Hypothesis 2 was not rejected at a=.05. There was

no statistically significant difference between the groups

on use of a formal closing. There was no relationship be-

tween group and use of formal closing.

Results for this variable are shown in Table 4.



Table 4.
Chi-Square for Formal Closing
Little Red Riding Hood


Did Use Did Not Use
Group Formal Closing Formal Closing Total

Enactment 11 14 25

Discussion 5 6 11

Control 1 8 9

Total 17 28 45


N = 45

2 = 3.410
x = 3.410










Unity

Unity was defined as a measure of the child's skill in

retelling the story using a sense of thematic development.

Hypothesis 3: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control

group in frequency of using unity in the

first retelling task.

The chi-square statistic was .739. The p value was

.6910. Hypothesis 3 was not rejected at a=.05. There was

no statistically significant difference between the groups

on unity. Similar proportions of children in each group did

not use unity.

Results for unity are shown in Table 5.



Table 5.
Chi-Square for Unity
Little Red Riding Hood


Group Did Use Unity Did Not Use Unity Total

Enactment 15 10 25

Discussion 8 3 11

Control 5 4 9

Total 28 17 45


N = 45
2 = .739
x = .739










Pretest

A one-way analysis of variance was done on the TELD

pretest to ascertain if there were differences between the

three groups.

Hypothesis 4: There will be no significant

difference in mean scores on the pretest be-

tween four year old children in the enactment,

teacher-led discussion or control group.

The F statistic was .28. The p value was .76. Hypoth-

esis 4 was not rejected at a=.05. There was no statistically

significant difference between the three groups at a=.05.

The language abilities of the three groups were similar prior

to the experiment.

The results for the ANOVA on the pretest are shown in

Table 6.



Table 6.
TELD Pretest Data


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 2 29.679 14.83 .28

Error 42 2256.230 52.47


N = 45











Total Score: Use of Formal Story Elements

A total score of use of formal story elements was cal-

culated scoring one point for each, formal opening, formal

closing, and story unity. A high score of three was pos-

sible.

Hypothesis 5: There will be no interaction

between treatment level and pretest score on

formal elements of a story score.

The F statistic was 1.59. The p value was .2273. Hy-

pothesis 5 was not rejected. There was no pretest by treat-

ment interaction at a=.05.

Hypothesis 6: Adjusting for differences on

the pretest, there will be no significant

difference in the mean scores for total for-

mal story elements between four year old

children in the enactment, teacher-led dis-

sion or control group.

The adjusted means for the groups were Enactment, 1.49;

Discussion, 1.82; Control, 1.09. The F statistic was 1.38.

The p value was .2715. There was no statistically signif-

icant difference between the three groups on this variable.

The results for this variable are shown in Table 7.










Table 7.
Total Formal Elements of a Story Score
Little Red Riding Hood


Variable Df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .202 .2020 .21

Treatment 2 2.610 1.3000 1.38

Error 24 22.810 .9504


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 1.49

Discussion 1.82

Control 1.09


N = 28



Number of Characters

The total number of characters each child mentioned in

the story retelling was counted ou.t of a possible five.

Hypothesis 7: There will be no pretest

by treatment interaction on number of

characters.

The F statistic was .48. The p value was .6233. Hy-

pothesis 7 was not rejected. There was no interaction at

a=.05.


Hypothesis 8: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control










group in number of characters mentioned in

the story retelling task.

The adjusted means for the groups were Enactment, 4.18;

Discussion, 4.17; Control, 3.67. The computed F statistic

was 1.48. The p value was .2475. Hypothesis 8 was not re-

jected. There was no statistically significant difference

between the three groups on number of characters mentioned

in the retelling task.

Results for this variable are shown in Table 8.



Table 8.
Number of Characters
Little Red Riding Hood


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .010 .010 .02

Treatment 2 1.550 .775 1.48

Error 24 12.560 .523


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 4.18

Discussion 4.17

Control 3.67


N = 28











Number of Incidents

The total number of incidents mentioned by the child

in the retelling was counted.

Hypothesis 9: There will be no pretest by

treatment interaction on number of incidents

mentioned.

The F statistic was .81. The p value was .4586 at

a=.05. Hypothesis 9 was not rejected. There was no inter-

action.

Hypothesis 10: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control

group in regard to number of incidents men-

tioned in the retelling.

The adjusted means on this variable were Enactment,

6.56; Discussion, 8.20; Control, 7.17. The F statistic was

1.28. The p value was .2973. There was no statistically

significant difference between the three groups in regard

to number of incidents.

Results for this variable are shown in Table 9.


Number of Conversational Quotations

The number of times conversational quotations were

used by the child in the retelling task was counted.










Table 9.
Number of Incidents
Little Red Riding Hood


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 1.19 1.19 .23

Treatment 2 13.09 6.54 1.28

Error 24 123.10 5.12


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 6.56

Discussion 8.20

Control 7.17


N = 28



Hypothesis 11: There will be no pretest

by treatment interaction on number of con-

versational quotations.

The computed F statistic was 12.66. The p value was

.0002. There was a pretest by treatment interaction. Hy-

pothesis 11 was rejected.

The slope for the enactment group was -.43. The slope

for the discussion group was -.033. The slope for the con-

trol group was 1.03. The regression equations for this

variable are


Y1 = 45.4 .43x










Y2 = 2.03 .033x

Y3 = -93.42 + 1.03x

The pretest by treatment interaction on this variable

indicates that scores on the pretest by subjects in the en-

actment group were negatively related to the number of con-

versational quotations as a dependent variable.

For subjects in the control group, there was a positive re-

lationship between pretest score and number of conversa-

tional quotations.

Hypothesis 12: There will be no differ-

ence between four year old children in

the enactment, teacher-led discussion or

control group in regard to number of times

conversational quotations were used.

The adjusted means for this variable were Enactment,

3.75; Discussion, 4.42; Control, 7.08.

The F statistic was 1.38. The p value was .2715.

There was no statistically significant difference at a=.05

between the three groups. The ANCOVA analysis results

should not be interpreted, because there was a pretest by

treatment interaction.

Results of the pretest by treatment interaction are

shown in Figure 1.








2


o
In /

0

80 90 100 110
Pretest

Figure 1.

Total Score on Characters, Incidents and
Conversational Quotations

For each category, a percentage was computed in regard

to number of characters, number of incidents and number of

conversational quotations. These percentages were added to

get a total score. For example, the highest score possible

on number of characters was 5. If a child used three in the

retelling, a percentage, 3 out of 5, was calculated for that

variable. The same process was used for number of incidents

and number of conversational quotations. Then the percen-

tages were added.

Hypothesis 13: There will be no pretest by

treatment interaction on total score on char-

acters, incidents and conversational quotations.

The computed F statistic was 2.88. The p value was

.0775. Hypothesis 13 was not rejected at a=.05.

Hypothesis 14: There will be no differ-

ence between four year old children in

the enactment, teacher-led discussion or











control group in regard to a total score

of characters, incidents and conversa-

tional quotations mentioned in the retell-

ing task.

The adjusted means for the group were Enactment, 1.59,

Discussion, 1.76; Control, 1.72. The F statistic was .55.

The p value was .5847. There was no statistically signif-

icant difference between groups in total score on charac-

ters, incidents and conversational quotations.

The results for total score on these variables are

shown in Table 10.



Table 10.
Total Score of Characters, Incidents, and
Conversational Quotations
Little Red Riding Hood


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .3143 .3143 2.36

Treatment 2 .1461 .0730 .55

Error 24 3.1900 .1330


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 1.59

Discussion 1.76

Control 1.72


N = 28










Criterion-Referenced Test


A 10 item test was administered orally to each child.

Hypothesis 15: There will be no interaction

between pretest and treatment on a criterion-

referenced test.

The F statistic was .55. The p value was .5872. Hy-

pothesis 15 was not rejected. There was no interaction at

a=.05.

Hypothesis 16: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in mean scores on criterion-referenced test.

The adjusted means on the CRT were Enactment, 8.75;

Discussion, 8.13; Control, 5.56.

The F statistic was 43.08. The p value was .0001.

There was a statistically significant difference between the

enactment and discussion groups and the control group on re-

call of story information. Hypothesis 16 was rejected at

t=.05.

Results are shown in Table 1i.

The computed t for group one versus group two was 1.78.

The p value was .0883. This indicated there was not a sta-

tistically significant difference between the enactment and

discussion groups. The computed t for group one versus

group three was 8.59. The p value was .0001. This indicates










a statistically significant difference when comparing the

enactment and control groups. The computed t for group two

versus group three was 7.46. The p value was .0001. This

indicates a statistically significant difference between the

discussion group and the control group. The enactment and

discussion groups did significantly better than the control

group on recall of story information.

Results are shown in Table 12.



Table 11.
Chart for Criterion-Referenced Test
Little Red Riding Hood


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 6.63 6.63 11.43

Treatment 2 49.99 24.90 43.08*

Error 24 13.92 .58


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 8.76

Discussion 8.13

Control 5.56


N = 28

* Significant at .05










Table 12.
Estimates for the CRT
Estimates

Parameter Estimate T for Ho P

1 vs 2 .628 1.78 .0883

1 vs 3 3.200 8.59 .0001

2 vs 3 2.570 7.46 .0001




The Gingerbread Man
Formal Elements of a Story


The first three dependent variables, formal story ele-

ments, formal opening, formal closing and unity, were ana-

lized by chi-square.


Formal Opening

Hypothesis 17: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in frequency of including a formal opening in

the story retelling task.

The computed chi-square statistic was 2.881. The p

value was .2452. Hypothesis 17 was not rejected at a=.05.

There was no statistically significant difference between

the groups or use of a formal opening when retelling The

Gingerbread Man.

The results for formal opening are shown in Table 13.










Table 13.
Formal Opening
The Gingerbread Man


Did Use Did Not Use
Group Formal Opening Formal Opening Total

Enactment 4 21 25

Discussion 3 8 11

Control 0 9 9

Total 7 38 45


N = 45
2
X2= 2.811



Formal Closing

Hypothesis 18: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in frequency of including a formal closing in

the story retelling task.

The chi-square statistic was 3.740. The p value was

.1541. Hypothesis 18 was not rejected at a=.05. There was

no statistically significant difference between the groups

in regard to formal closing.

The results for this variable are shown in Table 14.










Table 14.
Formal Closing
The Gingerbread Man


Did Use Did Not Use
Group Formal Closing Formal Closing Total

Enactment 6 19 25

Discussion 6 5 11

Control 2 7 9

Total 14 31 45


N = 45
2
X = 3.740



Unity

Hypothesis 19: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in unity or thematic development in the story

retelling task.

The chi-square statistic was 13.073. The p value was

.0014.

Hypothesis 19 was rejected at a=.05. There was a sig-

nificant difference between the enactment treatment, teacher-

led discussion and control group in regard to unity or the-

matic development as a formal story element. One hundred

percent of the teacher-led discussion group, 64 percent of











the enactment and 22 percent of the control group demon-

strated unity in their retelling of The Gingerbread Man.

Results for unity are shown in Table 15.



Table 15.
Unity
The Gingerbread Man


Did Use Did Not Use
Group Unity Unity Total

Enactment 16 9 25

Discussion 11 0 11

Control 2 7 9

Total 29 16 45


N = 45
2
X = 13.073



Total Score for Formal Elements of a Story

Hypothesis 20: There will be no interaction

between treatment level and pretest score on

formal elements of a story score.

The F statistic was .81. The p value was .4591. Hy-

pothesis 20 was not rejected. There was no treatment by pre-

test interaction.

Hypothesis 21: Adjusting for differences on

the pretest, there will be no difference in










the mean score for total formal elements

used in the retelling task between four

year old children in the enactment, teacher-

led discussion or control group.

The adjusted means for the groups were Enactment, 1.10;

Discussion, 1.81; Control, .44.

The F statistic was 11.91. The p value was .0003.

There was a statistically significant difference between

the three groups in regard to total score on formal elements

of a story. Hypothesis 21 was rejected at a=.05.

The computed t for group one versus group two was

-2.47. The p value was .0209. The discussion group did

better than the enactment group on this variable. The com-

puted t for group one versus group three was 2.15. The p

value was .0415. There was a statistically significant dif-

ference favoring the enactment group over the control group.

The computed t for group two versus group three was 4.86.

The p value was .0001. This indicates a statistically sig-

nificant difference between the discussion group and the con-

trol group. The enactment and discussion groups did signif-

icantly better than the control group in total formal ele-

ments of a story score. And the discussion group did better

than the enactment group on this variable. When looking at

formal story elements as a total score, the two treatments

were effective in developing an awareness of formal elements

in four year old children.










Results for total score on formal elements of a story

are given in Tables 16 and 17.



Table 16.
Total Formal Elements
The Gingerbread Man


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .013 .013 .04

Treatment 2 9.160 4.580 11.91*

Error 24 9.220 .384


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 1.10

Discussion 1.81

Control .44


N = 28
*Significant at a .05


Table 17.
Estimates for Total Formal Elements
The Gingerbread Man
Estimates

Parameter Estimate T for Ho P

1 vs 2 .71 -2.47 .0209

1 vs 3 .65 2.15 .0415

2 vs 3 1.36 4.86 .0001










Number of Characters

Hypothesis 22: There will be no pretest by treat-

ment interaction on number of characters.

The F statistic was 1.62. The p value was .2208.

This hypothesis was not rejected. There was no interaction

at a=.05.

Hypothesis 23: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in the number of characters mentioned in the

story retelling task.

The adjusted means for the groups were Enactment, 4.62;

Discussion, 4.37; Control, 4.85. The computed F statistic

was .41. The p value was .5586. Hypothesis 23 was not re-

jected at a=.05. There was no statistically significant

difference between the three groups.

Results for number of characters are shown in Table 10.


Number of Incidents

Hypothesis 24: There will be no treatment

by pretest interaction for number of incidents.

The F statistic was .49. The p value was .6195. This

hypothesis was not rejected at a=.05. There was no treat-

ment by pretest interaction.











Table 18.
Number of Characters
The Gingerbread Man


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .8358 .8358 .63

Treatment 2 1.0900 .5450 .41

Error 24 31.9300 1.3300


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 4.62

Discussion 4.37

Control 4.85


N = 28



Hypothesis 25: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in number of incidents mentioned in the re-

telling task.

The adjusted means on this variable were Enactment,

5.84; Discussion, 6.10; Control, 5.41.

The F statistic was .62. The p value was .5461. Hy-

pothesis 25 was not rejected at a=.05. There was no dif-

ference between the three groups in number of incidents.

Results for number of incidents are given in Table 19.











Table 19.
Number of Incidents
The Gingerbread Man


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .439 .439 .24

Treatment 2 2.29 1.145 .62

Error 24 44.46 1.85


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 5.84

Discussion 6.10

Control 5.41


N = 28

Number of Conversational Quotations

Hypothesis 26: There will be no treatment by pretest

interaction on number of conversational quotations.

The F statistic was 1.35. The p value was .2789. Hy-

pothesis 26 was not rejected. There was no treatment by

pretest interaction.

Hypothesis 27: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in number of times conversational quotations

were used in the retelling task.

The adjusted means on this variable were Enactment,

5.84; Discussion, 6.10; Control, 5.41.










The F statistic was 1.88. The p value was .1750. Hy-

pothesis 27 was not rejected at a=.05. There was no statis-

tically significant difference between the three groups on

number of conversational quotations.

Results for number of conversational quotations are

given in Table 20.



Table 20.
Number of Conversational Quotations
The Gingerbread Man


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 5.45 5.45 .67

Treatment 2 30.35 15.17 1.88

Errov 24 194.20 8.09


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 4.79

Discussion 6.23

Control 3.76


N = 28



Total Score on Characters, Incidents and
Conversational Quotations

For each category a percentage was computed of number

of characters, number of incidents, and number of conversa-

tional quotations. These percentages were added to get a

total score.









Hypothesis 28: There will be no pretest by

treatment interaction on total score on char-

acters, incidents and conversational quotations.

The F statistic was 2.19. The p value was .1358. Hy-

pothesis 28 was not rejected at a=.05. There was no pre-

test by treatment interaction.

Hypothesis 29: There will be no difference

between four year old children in the enact-

ment, teacher-led discussion or control group

in regard to a total score on characters, in-

cidents and conversational quotations.

The adjusted means for the groups were Enactment, 1.68;

Discussion, 1.80; Control, 1.57.

The F statistic was .71. The p value was .5032. There

was no statistically significant difference between the

groups in total score on characters, incidents, and conver-

sational quotations. Hypothesis 29 was not rejected.

Results for total score of characters, incidents and

conversational quotations are shown in Table 21.

Tables 22 and 23 summarize the results of this study.

Post hoc analysis on teacher effects is presented next.



Post Hoc Analyses


The analysis described in the previous section tested

hypotheses concerning treatment effects. The assumption was

made that teachers were equally effective within groups.




















Table 21.
Total Score of Characters, Incidents and
Conversational Quotations
The Gingerbread Man


Variable df SS MS F

Pretest 1 .0002 .0001 .000

Treatment 2 .2503 .1250 .710

Error 24 4.2500 .1770


Adjusted means for groups

Enactment 1.68

Discussion 1.80

Control 1.57


N = 28














Table 22.
Summary of Results for Little Red Riding Hood


Hypothesis
Hypothesis Statistically
Dependent Variable Number Significant

A. Formal Opening 1 *S at a.05

B. Formal Closing 2 NS

C. Unity 3 NS

D. Total Score 5-6 NS
Formal Elements

E. Number of Characters 7-8 NS

F. Number of Incidents 9-10 NS

G. Number of Conversa- 11-12 Pretest by
tional Quotations treatment in-
teraction (Hy-
pothesis 11)

H. Total Score Characters, 13-14 NS
Incidents and Conversa-
tional Quotations

Criterion-Referenced Test 15-16 *S ata.05
Hypothesis 16


NS = Not Significant

*S = Statistically Significant












Table 23.
Summary of Results for The Gingerbread Man


Hypothesis
Hypothesis Statistically
Dependent Variable Number Significant

A. Formal Opening 17 NS

B. Formal Closing 18 NS

C. Unity 19 *S ata.05

D. Total Score 20-21 *S ata.05
Formal Elements Hypothesis 21

E. Number of Characters 22-23 NS

F. Number of Incidents 24-25 NS

G. Number of Conversa- 26-27 NS
tional Quotations

H. Total Score Characters, 28-29 NS
Incidents and Conversa-
tional Quotations


NS = Not Significant

*S = Statistically Significant











After examining group means, the experimenter suspected the

existence of teacher effects. Further analyses were needed

to test the assumption of teacher effects on the pretest and

11 continuous variables of the total 17 dependent variables.

The post hoc analysis first tested the hypothesis that

teachers were equally effective within groups. If the hy-

pothesis was rejected, the effect of the treatment was re-

analyzed using teachers nested within programs as the error

term. In reanalysis only five of the variables indicated a

significant teacher effect. The results of these analyses

and the reanalysis of the treatment effect are reported be-

low. A summary table for these analyses on the dependent

variables follows at the end of the presentation of these

results.



Little Red Riding Hood


A total score on characters, incidents and conversa-

tional quotations was calculated by the method described

earlier in this chapter. The hypothesis tested for this

variable was: teachers are equally effective within each

treatment group on a total score on characters, incidents

and conversational quotations.

The computed F statistic was 5.03. The p value was

.0013. This hypothesis was rejected. There was a teacher

effect on this variable. Teachers were not equally effective




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