Classroom influences on first-grade students’ oral narratives

Judy A. Abbott, Sarah J. McCarthey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a part of a longitudinal project examining first-grade reading instruction in 4 districts across the state of Texas, this study explored the nature of students’ oral narratives and the connections between teachers’ instructional practices and students’narratives. Using an adaptation of Hudson & Shapiro's (1991) narrative categories, we examined 166 narratives generated by first-grade students, categorizing each as an event-script, a less-developed narrative, a well-developed narrative, or an “other.” An exemplar narrative from each of the 4 categories and 2 other narratives that represented the diversity of student responses and the complexity of the relationships between student performance and teacher practices were selected for further analysis. Six case studies were developed to describe students’ school achievement, their oral narratives, and teachers’ practices. Our findings suggest that certain classroom practices, which either support or narrow opportunities for engagement with oral and written text, may be an important influence on students’ construction of oral narratives. The individual cases provide examples of ways in which students’ narrative constructions are embedded in a variety of classroom features such as teacher attitudes and practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-421
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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