Developing narrative language through the use of dramatic play in preschoolers
The purpose of this study was to investigate the affect dramatic play had on language development. More specifically, the study sought to measure if the addition of a dramatic play center would stimulate both oral and written language. Therefore, four questions guided the study: (a) Does dramatic play positively influence overall language ability? (b) Does dramatic play increase the production of oral narratives? (c) Does dramatic play increase the complexity of the child's narrative? (d) Does dramatic play increase a child's written narrative? The study involved a mixed design that measured the participant's standardized scores both before and after intervention. A portion of the study utilized authentic writing samples to analysis growth using a qualitative approach. A matrix of story elements dictated or written in their journals was completed and then analyzed to determine common themes. The findings of this study reveal that oral language is improved through play. The receptive language of children receiving the intervention, as measured by the CELFPreschool, increased significantly within the time frame of the study. In addition, the complexity of the narratives written by the children increased. This was demonstrated in their journal entries through the mastery of story elements that were absent or sporadic at the beginning of the study. Most notable, the children's ability to provide a coherent, logical thought in relation to the literature improved.