A Comparison of Children Living in Extreme Urban Poverty Participating in an Enrichment Program with a Control Group on Narrative Skills Using Responses to a Story Telling Task




Rodriguez-Alonso, Estela

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Economic disadvantage is linked with harsher environments, which lead to poor cognitive, social, academic, and emotional consequences for children involved. It has been shown that an early period of schooling is of critical importance for future academic success among low-income children. This study intended to determine the effectiveness of the treatment method Talitha Koum Nurture Center Program. This was done by assessing how the children receiving intervention differ in narrative skills from children from comparable backgrounds. The procedure instructed children to complete stories after the stem of the story (or beginning) about everyday problems had been given to them by the examiner. The experimental children participated in the Talitha Koum intervention program from two months of age until time of testing or age five. The control children were recruited from a low-income housing neighborhood highly similar to the neighborhoods of the experimental children. Of the thirty-one children between the ages of three and five that were part of this study, 16 told stories that could be coded; seven from the experimental group and nine from the control group. The results showed that TK children told more stories and longer stories than the control group. The language used was more complex as indicated by the significantly higher mean MLU and significantly higher use of descriptors, qualifiers, and internal state terms than the control group.



Child development., Psychology., Narrative skills., Early intervention program., School readiness., Poverty.