Development of narratives in children aged 6–8 years depending on the level of executive functions
Background. Language development is one of the most important tasks of education. Therefore, the study of those factors that affect it remains in demand. Though the relationship between language development and executive functions has been broadly studied recently, there is no data on their relationship in a longitudinal perspective in children aged 6 to 8 years. A comprehensive analysis of the relationship between language development and executive functions is of great importance for transition from kindergarten to primary school.
Objective. The study focuses on how narrative ability develops in children from preschool to the middle of elementary school and how it is associated with the level of executive functions.
Sample. The material was obtained during a three-year longitudinal study. The study sample data was collected in two sections: a) in kindergarten (n = 288, M = 6.59 years, SD = 4.11 months) and b) in the second grade of primary school (n = 210, M = 8.75 years, SD = 3.84 months).
Methods. The children’s executive functions were assessed with the NEPSY-II diagnostic toolkit, as well as with the DCCS method. The children’s narratives were assessed with the method of creating stories based on a series of pictures.
Results. 1) A statistically significant increase in micro- and macrostructure of narratives was found. 2) In kindergarten, girls demonstrate higher indicators in both macro- and microstructure of narrative than boys. However, by the 2nd grade, these significant differences are no longer observed. 3) Analysis of the relationship between narrative indicators and components of executive functions revealed that the strongest positive relationship is observed between auditory working memory and macro-microstructure in the preparatory group, however, by the 2nd grade, this relationship ceases to be significant. 4) It was shown that children who demonstrated higher rates in all executive functions at preschool age have higher results in narratives at school.
Conclusions. The important role of the development of executive functions during the preschool period of childhood in the development of narrative ability at school age is shown.
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Keywords: language development; coherent speech; narratives; child speech, gender differences; gender differences; executive functions
Available online since: 14.09.2023
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