Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Digital storytelling is a powerful method for revitalizing literacy instruction. Past research suggested that digital storytelling activities improve students’ writing skills through construction of various types of stories. However, little research has investigated in what ways educators can promote students’ interests and actual abilities to express narrative discourse in a digital format. Recent research indicated that the use of story grammars help students develop sophisticated stories. From this perspective, Labov’s story grammar emphasized two functions of good story structure: reference—the listeners (or readers) are told what happened, and evaluation—the speakers (or writers) reveal their attitude toward the events of the narrative. Meanwhile, current practitioner based research suggests that Lambert’s seven elements approach of digital storytelling emerged as a practical guideline for creating effective digital stories in elementary classrooms. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of three instructional approaches: Labov’s story grammar only, Lambert’s seven elements only, and both instructional approaches, as scaffolding(s) for students’ digital storytelling. Specifically, a quantitative research design with three experimental groups and one control group, pre-test and post-test, was employed. Participants included 104 second-graders (largely from high socioeconomic status families), with 26 in each of four classrooms. Therefore, the three instructional scaffold approaches and one non-scaffold supported approach were randomly assigned to each of four classrooms respectively to support students’ story writing, storytelling, story design and construction using Movie Maker software. Students’ understanding of narrative writing was assessed before and after the implementation of the intervention. The results indicated that the instructional scaffolding positively enhanced students’ performance in story writing, storytelling, as well as verbal and visual expression. In particular, the story grammar scaffolding motivated students to produce coherent, more sophisticated stories. The seven elements scaffolding sparked students’ creative verbal and visual expressions and stimulated them to elaborate using a variety of adjectives in their digital stories. When both scaffolding approaches were implemented, students significantly outperformed the other groups on the quality of story content, story coherency and narrative knowledge. The implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

MacGregor, S. Kim



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Education Commons