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Partners in Storytelling: An exploration of narratives with peers, parents and professionals

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Aim: Narratives represent a core discourse structure, drawing on linguistic, pragmatic, cognitive and social-emotional domains. Children become competent narrators through opportunities to engage in story telling with supportive listeners. The aim of this paper is to analyze the structural features of narratives produced with different communication partners and to describe the interaction strategies of communication partners as they negotiate an agreed interpretation of the narratives.
Method: Five participants viewed events in a series of video clips and described the content of each clip to a partner who was not present during the viewing. Each participant using aided communication interacted with a peer, a parent and a familiar professional.
Results: The data suggest that children who use aided communication can produce narratives that can be analyzed using existing frameworks, including the Narrative Assessment Profile (Bliss, McCabe & Miranda, 1998). Not all aspects of narratives emerged with equal frequency.
Conclusion: Analyses of how children using aided communication structure their telling of a sequence of events removed in time and place and how interaction partners negotiate an interpretation of these narratives highlights the opportunities and challenges afforded by aided communication.


Martine Smith    
Trinity College Dublin

Janice Murray    
Manchester Metropolitan University
United Kingdom

Stephen von Tetzchner    
Oslo University


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