Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Trina D. Spencer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew E. Foster, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Howard Goldstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth B. Hadley, Ph.D.


early language and literacy, single case research design, online parent training, participatory research


Children’s oral language skills in preschool through early elementary grades can predict reading, writing, and social outcomes ten years into the future. Oral narrative language, which includes storytelling, is a long-established cultural practice in communities around the world. Narratives are the monologic re/telling of a real of fictitious event and people have used them for centuries to entertain, make sense of current and past events, and provide instruction. Oral storytelling does not require physical materials and can be tailored to the cultural and linguistic values of the community in which they are used. Thus, the portability, utility, and ubiquitous nature of storytelling makes it a prime candidate for use as a scalable oral language intervention.This dissertation presents three studies of oral narrative interventions implemented with children in preschool through first grade by teachers, speech-language therapists, and parents. Interventions were delivered by their intended end-users in a variety of natural settings and contexts. Using two multiple baseline single-case experimental designs and one randomized controlled trial group experimental design, study results indicated that the intervention is effective for improving kindergarten and first grade students’ narrative writing, as well as first graders’ narrative retell, expository retell, and vocabulary inferencing skills. Across all three studies, end users found the intervention to be both feasible and acceptable. These three studies contribute additional knowledge of oral narrative interventions used in real-world conditions by a child’s natural caregivers.