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Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
R. Craig Roney, Ph.D.
This study was undertaken as an attempt to assess the effects of storytelling and reading aloud on fourth and fifth grade children's comprehension and oral reading fluency of both narrative and expository texts. The independent variable involved two strategies for introducing stories to children (storytelling and story reading) and a comparison strategy (silent reading). Each treatment (or strategy) was used, in part, to differentiate literacy instruction over a period of seven weeks.
Treatment 1 consisted of twenty-eight teacher-storytelling performances (fourteen narrative and fourteen expository). Likewise, Treatment 2 consisted of twenty-eight teacher-story reading aloud performances of narrative and expository texts (the same stories used in Treatment 1), while Treatment 3 was used as a comparison group; no narrative/expository text storytellings or story readings were employed. Students silently read each of the same narrative and expository texts employed in Treatments 1 and 2.
During the study's timeframe, fourth and fifth grade students from each grade level (assigned to each treatment) were combined in a cluster and told one single story per day--four times a week. These storytelling sessions occurred in the same classroom environment for each telling, which were scheduled to last for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes. No student discussions ensued upon conclusion of each storytelling performance and a multiple-choice assessment was given to students at the end of each meeting.
Upon conclusion of the fourteen week study, a QRI-3 oral reading fluency reading rate, as measured in words-per-minute (WPM), was determined by a Literacy Coach using fourth and fifth grade narrative and expository reading passages from the QRI-3. In addition, a measure of comprehension was carried out by the same Literacy Coach using the same narrative and expository reading passages used to calculate students' oral reading fluency rates for each posttest.
The data was analyzed for statistical differences among the means and also for any significant interaction among combinations of the various factors. Parametric tools, including MANOVA, were employed initially. Nonetheless, due to small and unequal sample sizes, nonparametric tests, which are known to be more statistically powerful if the normality assumption of the parametric MANOVA is violated, were also employed. These tests include the Blair-Sawilowsky Salter-Fawcett adjusted rank transformation test (ART), Kruskal-Wallis H tests, and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests (Mann-Whitney U).
The major finding from this study involves fifth graders' comprehension of narrative texts. With the employment of non-parametric statistical analysis, the study reveals that both reading aloud and telling stories by a teacher did significantly impact for the better the students' comprehension of narrative text as compared to simply having the students read stories silently.
Wightman, Shawn Kevin, "The effects of story performance on fourth and fifth grade students' comprehension and oral reading fluency of narrative and expository texts" (2011). Wayne State University Dissertations. Paper 402.