The effects of explicitly teaching story structure to primary grade children

Robert J. Stevens, Peggy van Meter, Nicholas D. Warcholak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The importance of emergent literacy skills as a foundation for proficient reading has led to the development of interventions to teach these skills. These interventions are particularly important for children from disadvantaged homes because they often lack the home literacy experiences necessary for building foundational literacy skills prior to school entry. While previous interventions have been successful in developing literacy skills, noticeably absent has been instruction to develop comprehension. In this study, teachers explicitly taught the narrative structure to kindergarten and first grade children in high poverty schools to increase their comprehension of children's literature. Instruction was delivered as children listened to stories during daily story time. The findings indicate that children who learned story structures recalled more ideas from new stories and answered more questions about structural elements of those stories (e.g., who is the main character?). The results suggest that teachers can deliver effective comprehension instruction to emergent and beginning readers in the context of listening comprehension activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-198
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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