Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of the present study was to examine whether instruction in story structure improved preschoolers' comprehension of stories. Preschool children were pretested on: (a) oral story production, (b) story rule knowledge (structural elements), (c) free recall of a story, and (d) probed recall. Students who were identified as less skilled by these four measures were randomly assigned to one of three groups: instruction, story, or control. The instruction group received two weeks of explicit instruction in story structure based on a story rule format. The story group listened to the same rule format. The story group listened to the same stories and the control group received no treatment. Following instruction, posttests and delayed tests (10 days) were administered. A complex pattern of results for the four measures occurred. Results for the oral story production, story rules, and probed recall measures indicated there were group differences and repeated time of test differences (pre, post, and delayed) for the story rules and free recall measures. In addition, the instruction group performed differentially on the story rules and probed recall measures as compared to the other two groups. Taken together, the results indicate that explicit instruction in story structure provides young children with an organizational framework for comprehending stories, and may improve their story production abilities.