Improving Adolescent's Written Stories

Submitted by: Neyrchel De Vera

Key words: Instructional Strategies, Language, 7-12

Topic: Improving Adolescent's Written Stories

Tasks: With proper training, hearing-impaired adolescents can improve their writing and reading comprehension skills.

Resources: Cambra, C. (1994). An instructional program approach to improve hearing-impaired adolescent's narratives: A pilot study. Volta Review, 96, 237-245.

Information: A 24 week instructional program was designed to improve hearing-impaired adolescents' story writing and reading comprehension. The program emphasized three basic aspects: (1.) the importance of narrative structure, (2.) the importance of the writing process, and (3.) the importance of using a variety of activities about the narrative text. The subjects used were ten prelingual, profoundly hearing-impaired students aged 11-14. This 24 week period consisted of the pre-test phase (6 weeks), intervention (12 weeks), and the post-test phase (6 weeks).

The first pre-test task was to see if the subjects were able to distinguish a story structure from a descriptive structure. The second task was to find out which part of the narrative structure was the hardest to organize and whether content was preserved.

The intervention process consisted of 15 different activities for teaching story structure and writing strategies. Some of the objectives were "to know the relation between cause-consequence of the different events of a text, to identify the story sequence, to select and to link with linguistic cohesion some information given in a narrative text, and to relate the initiating event with the protagonist's internal response."

The post-test objectives was to measure progress through the same pre-test tasks.

The results showed a 20% increase in the number of students that used a story schema in organizing their stories, an improved account of all story elements. This study reaffirmed from previous studies the difficulty students have in recalling episode elements. It also showed that through the students' post-test summaries, they do not always understand the meaning of the narrative and include new characters or elements.

Insights: Reading and writing are related skills. Children may be able to learn story structure through comparison of their old stories from their newly written stories. Reading evokes feelings, and it is important to discuss why a story does that in order to discuss story elements. These elements can be taught at an early age without using these terms. For example, asking a child, "How did the story make you feel?" should open a forum for discussing these elements.

Questions: What is internal response and is there a strategy to help develop that element? Are children being taught the purpose of story telling?

Akamastu, C.T. (1988). Summarizing stories: The role of instruction in text structure in learning to write. American Annuals of the Deaf,13(4), 100-109.
Flower, L.,& Hayes, J.R. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. Research in writing: Past, present, and future. University of California for the study of writing.
Griffith, P.L., Ripich, D.N., & Dastoli, S.L. (1990). Narrative abilities in hearing-impaired children: Propositions and cohesion. American Annals of the Deaf, 135,14-19.

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major