Reading and Writing

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 1189–1205 | Cite as

The relations of proper character introduction to narrative quality and listening comprehension for young children from high poverty schools

  • Adrienne E. Barnes
  • Young-Suk Kim
  • Beth M. Phillips


The present study explored the types and frequency of literate language features in children’s narratives, and the relation of literate language and proper character introduction to children’s oral language skills in a sample of 184 prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade students from high-poverty schools. Using hierarchical regression, the results showed that literate language features were not predictive of listening comprehension or narrative quality outcomes. In contrast, children’s skill in properly introducing characters significantly accounted for variance in all outcome measures (narrative comprehension, narrative quality, and listening comprehension) above and beyond the control variables (age, total number of words, and mean length of utterance) and literate language features (adverbs, conjunctions, mental and linguistic verbs, and elaborated noun phrases). These results indicate that the child’s retell and language comprehension skills may develop concurrently with proper character introduction.


Decontextualized discourse Listening comprehension Literate language features Narratives Oral retell Character introduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrienne E. Barnes
    • 1
  • Young-Suk Kim
    • 2
  • Beth M. Phillips
    • 2
  1. 1.College of EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationFlorida State University and Florida Center for Reading ResearchTallahasseeUSA

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