The effectiveness of a narrative-based language intervention for children with specific language impairment

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The effectiveness of a narrative-based language intervention for children with specific language impairment


Author: Leung, Hau-sin Helen
Title: The effectiveness of a narrative-based language intervention for children with specific language impairment
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2009
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Language disorders in children -- Treatment.
Narrative therapy.
Department: School of Nursing
Pages: xiv, 192 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: The ability in producing narratives is crucial for all children. This competence also affects children's language ability and academic performance. Children with specific language impairment often exhibit language and narrative problems. This pilot study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a narrative-based language intervention for improving the grammatical and storytelling skills in Cantonese-speaking primary school children with specific language impairment. The study adopted a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest comparison group design. A total of 12 children aged 7 to 10 participated in this study. There were 6 children in the experimental and control groups respectively. Subjects in the experimental group received 8 two-hour weekly group sessions. They learned the 9 specific sentence structures and 8 story grammar elements. They then integrated the learned sentence structures and story grammar elements into story retelling and telling tasks. Story cards, story scripts, sentence cards, and cueing cards were also used. The parents of the experimental group carried out home practices with their children according to the researcher's instructions so as to consolidate the skills learned in the intervention. The story retelling part of the Hong Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale was used to assess the subject's story retelling ability. The Cantonese Expressive Language Scale was used to test their grammatical and story telling abilities. Their ability in using the 9 specific sentence structures was tested by a self-developed sentence test. Their performance in retelling and telling stories was also rated by the Index of Narrative Complexity. Data of the experimental group in pre-test and post-test were then compared with that of the control group, by the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of repeated measure. Results showed that the experimental group improved significantly in performing story retelling after the intervention. In this task, they could use more target vocabulary (such as producing "branch" (樹枝) instead of "tree" (樹), and use 4 sentence structures learned in intervention correctly, including relative clause ( 「...?...」), "" ( 「因為...所以...」), "though..." (「就算...都...」), and "although/but..." (「雖然...但係...」). They also produced 4 story grammar elements more appropriately in story retelling, including setting, initiating event, attempt and consequence. Moreover, their use of the 9 sentence structures trained in the intervention improved significantly when doing the self-developed sentence test. However, the experimental group showed no significant improvement in doing the story telling task. These results might be related to the children's limitations in language processing, verbal memory, and/or metalinguistic ability in judging the correctness of story grammar elements produced in their stories. It was concluded that the narrative-based language intervention of this study could improve the story retelling performance but not the story telling ability in children with specific language impairment. Further studies with more subjects, intervention sessions, and better strategies on improving the story telling ability were suggested. Further research with modifications in intervention contents may also be carried out when investigating its effectiveness in managing the language problems in other populations, such as children with mental retardation or autism.

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