In this, our last entry in 2021’s Summer Study Series, we’ll review a recent article from leaders in the field who present a very helpful set of 10 principles for narrative intervention that will guide you in this new school year. Additionally, several strategies for leveraging technology will also be described, as we can consider tech a useful tool, however your service delivery evolves in this unfortunately still-weird educational situation.
Spencer and Peterson (2020) detail narrative intervention principles and practice tips in their ASHA-accessible article “Narrative Intervention: Principles to Practice.” I love the trend of incorporating the ever-readable web “listicle” as an element of our research literature; see also Fey, Long & Finestack’s article on principles for grammatical intervention, also a good paired read with this article. Spencer and Peterson first provide a tutorial in narrative intervention that emphasizes a number of key points:
Lastly, for more duties, these interventions play a vital role in academic progress around literacy and writing as well as social learning skills such as using narratives to foster interactions and relationships with others.
The principles the authors review are all on-point, and I thought it would be enticing (so you go above and click on the article!) to provide them in full here:
Rather than describe each in detail, as Spencer and Peterson do this wonderfully in the article, I’d like to provide some interpretive ideas.
This point is another reinforcement of Story Grammar Marker®’s power in providing a whole/part/whole instructional sequence. Children benefit from getting the “Big Picture” of stories with examples of complete episodes, either from authors who frequently write them like Robert Munsch, or with a good personal narrative. I like to use a story about falling out of a moving car when I was five years old! I was OK, clearly. I frequently recommend MindWing’s “Day in the Park” booklet as a mapped “walk” through the developmental sequence, which allows us to reinforce the parts (story elements) and build back to the whole (complete episode). I have also in the past linked this strategy to the use of apps such as Pic Collage (Google Jamboard, too) to build structure
We can use Story Grammar Marker’s icons flexibly to help students continually relate elements to each other so that the end result is not the simple “the character is...the setting is…” MindWing’s Digital Icons are particularly helpful for this as we can copy and paste in-the-moment to emphasize these links (see my previous Captain Underpants example). Contextualizing is also made easier when we look for picture books and narratives relating to classroom topics. Pinterest is your friend on this!
The authors provide some great points on this, but I’d like to emphasize that technology in itself can be a motivator for storytelling. For example, PBS Kids’ “Elinor Wonders Why” provides some fun narrative-related activities such as solving problems at a campsite. Any website or app that presents an interactive scene will provide for similar engagement while eliciting stories!