Purpose

The primary aim of the present study was to examine whether different ways of presenting narrative stimuli (i.e., live narrative stimuli versus audio-recorded narrative stimuli) influence children's performances on narrative comprehension and oral-retell quality.

Method

Children in kindergarten (n = 54), second grade (n = 74), and fourth grade (n = 65) were matched on their performance on a standardized oral-language comprehension task and then were randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 conditions that differed in how narrative stimuli were presented to children: live narrative stimuli and audio-recorded narrative stimuli.

Results

Kindergartners and 2nd graders in the live condition had higher mean performance on narrative comprehension, with effect sizes of .43 and .39, respectively, after accounting for age, gender, and school. No differences were found in narrative comprehension for children in 4th grade. Children's oral-retell quality did not differ as a function of condition in any grade.

Conclusion

These results suggest that how narrative stimuli are presented to children (i.e., live versus audio-recorded narrative stimuli) may affect children's narrative comprehension, particularly for young children in kindergarten and Grade 2. Implications for assessment and instruction are discussed.

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