"Story telling as an Adaptive Cultural Practice that Promotes Vocabulary and Self-Regulation among Dual Language Learning Preschool Children"
AERA 2018 Annual Meeting: “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education”
April 13-17, 2018
Title: "Story telling as an Adaptive Cultural Practice that Promotes Vocabulary and Self-Regulation among Dual Language Learning Preschool Children"
Authors: Alison Gallwey Wishard Guerra, Jacob Story, Lilly Parks, Juan Gaytan
This study examined the role of home literacy practices in supporting the development of school readiness outcomes among low-income Spanish dominant preschool children. Home book reading and storytelling were investigated as predictors of preschool emergent literacy, vocabulary, and executive function skills.
This study is guided by a positive development framework (Cabrera et al., 2013) and Howe’s (2016) and Rogoff’s (2003) conception of cultural practices in the home and preschool. We seek to identify cultural practices that promote optimal outcomes in young diverse children. We examine how the family language practices of story telling serves as an adaptive practice that supports school readiness.
Participants include 47 Mexican-heritage children (M = 3.4 years, 50% female, 57% Spanish dominant) attending Head Start. Correlational analyses were used to examine associations between home literacy practices, teacher-child relationships and school-readiness outcomes. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to reduce self-regulation variables. Regression analysis was used to test a model identifying promotive practices that support optimal academic outcomes. Data sources include family demographics and parent reports on home literacy practices; Fall and Spring school readiness assessments (Brownell, 2000); Mason & Stewart, 1989; Smith-Donald, Raver, Hayes, & Richardson, 2007)), and teacher reports of child social emotional development (FACES Child Behavior Rating Scale; adapted from Achenbach, 1992’STRS-S, Pianta, 2001).)
PCA was conducted to reduce the six PSRA variables into two factors: Attention/Executive Control and Compliance/Impulse Control. There were positive correlations between home literacy practices and child school readiness outcomes. Book reading and storytelling were significantly associated with emergent literacy and vocabulary scores. storytelling was significantly associated with vocabulary, emergent literacy, and Executive Control/Attention. Frequency of book reading was associated with emergent literacy and vocabulary, but not with self-regulation.
Stepwise regression analysis indicated that Attention/Executive control is a significant predictor of expressive vocabulary after controlling for variations in family demographics and family literacy practices. While home story telling did not maintain significance at the final step, it contributes to the overall statistically significant model suggesting that both home story telling and Executive Control/Attention are important contributors to the final vocabulary outcome.
These findings contribute to the body of research seeking to identify family and community practices that promote positive development among diverse children. Home story telling contributes to a rich language environment that encourages child engagement in complex language interactions. Home story telling also often conveys family values, morals, and cultural beliefs that support positive parent-child relationships both in the preschool years as well as potentially promoting resilience later on in adolescence. It is significant that the frequency of book reading was not significantly correlated to child outcomes nor did it contribute to the overall model predicting child outcomes. To support young diverse learners in their educational pursuits, educators, family service providers, and policy makers would benefit from understanding existing family practices such as story telling that promote social and academic outcomes. Research to practice applications will be discussed.