Cardiff Metropolitan University
8000 - Jacqueline Harrett.pdf (10.43 MB)

Responses of young children to storytelling and story reading : an investigation into language and imagination.

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posted on 2022-10-17, 13:24 authored by Jaqueline Harrett


This largely qualitative study had two main aims: to investigate the language

young children used in their retellings of traditional tales told and then read to

them in picture book form and to gauge their responses to these different

modes of story. The hypothesis was that children experienced more vivid

visualisations after storytellings, having to create images for themselves rather

than being presented with an artistic interpretation through picture books. Data were gathered in two large, inner city, multiethnic schools over a period

of seventeen months from one hundred and forty nine children aged between

five and seven. They retold stories they had heard orally or from picture books

and were then questioned about their visualisations during these story

experiences. These recalls and interviews were conducted audio-taped and

transcribed with individuals. Initial analysis confirmed that older children were

more adept at using language in this way, and richer data were available by

concentraiing on children aged six and seven. Subsequently, in depth

analysis concentrated on a core of sixteen children in this age range.

Retellings were coded and given a score for identifiable events when

compared to original texts. They were further examined for examples of

repeated or 'created' story language directly representative of original texts,

oral or read. 'Created' language was seen as a product of imagination. In

semi-structured interviews directly following retellings children were

questioned about visualisations they had experienced during story sessions.

Visualisations were categorised into strands reflective of eiher direct storybased

imaging or invented images. This revealed that imaginative responses

to oral stories were greater than those related to picture book readings.

Investigating visualisations of this type was not an area widely researched in

the field of education so this study contributes to our understanding of the

inner worlds of children and how they perceive stories.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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