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IES Grant

Title: Developing a Narrative Intervention
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Gillam, Sandra Laing Awardee: Utah State University
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,446,527
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A100063

Co-Principal Investigator: Ronald Gillam

Purpose: Oral language development provides the foundation for learning, reading, and academic success in early childhood. Children with language impairments (LI) and English language learners (ELLs) who are at-risk for oral language deficits are at a disadvantage in educational and social settings. The purpose of this project is to develop a robust program to foster oral language proficiency through instruction in story comprehension and storytelling (narration).

Project Activities: This research team will develop, refine, and pilot a language intervention program in the context of narration with accompanying teacher training materials to improve oral language proficiency and spoken narration in children with language impairments, or those who are English languages learners at-risk for language difficulties.

Products: This project will result in published papers and reports on a fully developed language intervention program in the context of narration with teacher-training materials for use within authentic educational contexts.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will be conducted in elementary special education or ELL classrooms in Logan, Utah. Children are seen in groups by certified speech language pathologist (clinicians), special educators or ELL teachers in their "home-school" environment.

Population: 60 children with LI or who are ELL at-risk entering first through fourth grades, and 12 clinicians, special education, or ELL teachers.

Intervention: The project will develop a language intervention program designed to improve vocabulary knowledge, story comprehension, and knowledge of complex sentence structures. The basic teaching tasks of the intervention are story modeling, story retelling, story generation and comprehension instruction using narrative text, wordless picture books, and self-generated stories.

Research Design and Methods: During the first two years, instructional components of the narrative intervention and teacher training programs will be developed, revised and implemented. Four teacher/student cohorts implement and/or receive successive iterations of the program until the last cohort (cohort 4) has received a full version. Final revisions will be made in Year 3. Each cohort attends training then implements the intervention with their students. Feedback will be collected through teacher surveys and observations of the teacher implementing instruction. Researchers will observe the change process in two children (1 language impaired and 1 ELL) during daily intervention sessions over the course of a week.

Control Condition: In the feasibility study in Year 3, 24 students will be randomly assigned to either receive the intervention or to a control group.

Key Measures: Outcomes will include classroom observations, teacher feedback and measures of oral language, narration, reading comprehension and writing.

Data Analytic Strategy: This design experiment will be conducted to evaluate four iterations of the intervention. Data from teacher perceptions, intervention observations, and progress monitoring tools will be analyzed to assess child outcomes at each step of the development process. Microgenetic case studies will be used for fine-grained analyses of the sequence of behaviors, the rate of change, generalization to different contexts, teacher actions that catalyze change, and equivalency of change patterns across children. A feasibility study will be conducted in the final phase of the project to assess the final iterations of the fully developed intervention and teacher training programs.


Book chapter, edition specified

Gillam, R., Gillam, S., and Fey, M. (in press). Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy (SKILL): A Narrative Intervention Program. In McCauley, R.J., Fey, M.E., and Gillam, R.B. (Eds.), Treatment of Language Disorders (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Gillam, S., and Gillam, R. (2014). Improving Clinical Services: Be Aware of Fuzzy Connections Between Principles and Strategies. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 45(2): 137–144 . doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-14–0024

Gillam, S., Gillam, R., and Reese, K. (2012). Language Outcomes of Contextualized and Decontextualized Language Intervention: Results of an Early Efficacy Study. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 43(3): 276–291. doi:10.1044/0161–1461(2011/11–0022)

Gillam, S., Hartzheim, D., Studenka, B., Simonsmeier, V., and Gillam, R. (2015). Narrative Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 58(3): 920–933. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14–0295

Gillam, S.L., Olszewski, A., Farbo, J., and Gillam, R.B. (2014). Classroom-Based Narrative and Vocabulary Instruction: Results of an Early-Stage, Nonrandomized Comparison Study. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 45(3): 204–219. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13–0008

Nongovernment report, issue brief, or practice guide

Gillam, S., and Justice, L. (2010). RTI Progress Monitoring Tools: Assessing Primary-Grade Students in Response-to-Intervention Programs.