An investigation of Turkish mothers’ narrative styles and their relation to children’s narrative comprehension
Quality of mothers’ book sharing interactions with their children show variations at both individual and cultural levels. The narrative styles that mothers adopt during these book sharing interactions influence their children’s emergent literacy skills. The current study investigated Turkish mothers’ narrative styles as they narrated a wordless picture book to their 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children, and whether these narrative styles had a relation to their children’s narrative comprehension. To answer these two questions, the current study consisted of two phases. In the first study, eighty-seven mothers were asked to narrate a wordless picture book to their children. Their narrative discourse was coded according to the pragmatic function and the narrative content of their utterances. As a result, two different narrative styles were identified: storytellers who make use of informative utterances that do not require their children’s participation and talk about events that are within the storyline, and story builders who use interactive utterances that encourage their children’s contribution and talk about both within and beyond the storyline. In the second study, forty-nine children were asked comprehension questions after their mothers had narrated the wordless picture book to them. Analyses revealed no significant link between mothers’ narrative styles and their children’s narrative comprehension skills. However, children whose mothers adopted the story builder style displayed higher receptive vocabulary competence. Findings and implications of both studies were discussed in terms of their congruence and contributions to the existing literature.