Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Ian M. Begg
The general purpose of this thesis was to examine the process of acquiring knowledge about the story schema and the ability to use that knowledge to understand and remember stories. At a more specific level, the thesis examined the effects of experience with stories in the preschool years on the acquisition and use of knowledge about the structure of stories.
Experiments 1 and 2 assessed the hypothesis that there are social class differences in 4- and 6-year-old children's knowledge of the story schema, and in their ability to comprehend and recall stories. When middle-class children describe and recall picture stories, they emphasize the aspects of the pictures that are central to the gist of the story. Lower-class children emphasize inessential details, include many spurious statements, and seldom note relationships between pictures. In a rearrangement task, only the middle-class children schematize scrambled stories into a sequence that is strongly related to the original story.
Experiment 3 investigated the effect of an intervention program on 4-year-old lower-class children's knowledge of the story schema and ability to understand and remember stories. There were no differences between children in the experimental group and two control groups prior to treatment. After 26 traditional picture stories were read to them, children in the experimental group describe, recall and rearrange stories like their middle-class age-peers in Experiment 1. Children in the control group show no such improvement.
The theoretical implications of identifying a method of empirically investigating the process of acquiring knowledge about the story schema are discussed. The educational implications that the class difference and the effective achievement in the story-laden primary grades are considered.
Young, Rosemary Elaine, "The Acquisition and Use of Knowledge about the Story Schema" (1983). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1321.