Narrative Instruction in Elementary Classrooms: An Observation Study


This study examined the amount and types of narrative instruction (i.e., story comprehension, oral storytelling, and story writing instruction) that general education English language arts teachers provide to students in grades 1 through 4. The research team conducted 121 approximately 30-minute classroom observations. Educators were asked to teach a lesson focused on narrative comprehension or production (i.e., on “understanding literary text or creating stories”). The amount and type of story instruction provided to students varied across classrooms. Forty-four percent of observed minutes were devoted to story comprehension; 10% of minutes addressed story writing. Teachers spent no time working with students on oral storytelling. Findings suggest that story production may not be an instructional focus in many primary-grade classrooms. In addition, from both a macrostructure and a microstructure standpoint, typical narrative instruction may omit elements of narrative language instruction that are associated with improved narrative comprehension, oral storytelling, and writing outcomes.


Hall, C., Capin, P., Vaughn, S., Gillam, S. L., Wada, R., Fall, A.-M., Roberts, G., Dille, J. T., & Gillam, R. B. (2021). Narrative instruction in elementary classrooms: An observation study. The Elementary School Journal121(3), 454–483.