This book reports research on narrative production among African American children for the purpose of extending previous research and discussion of narrative structure. Some researchers studying narrative production among African American children have focused on the influence of culture on the narrative structures employed. Some researchers (e.g., Michaels, 1981; Heath, 1983; Gee, 1985) have suggested that narrative structure is strongly influenced by home culture. Other researchers (Hyon & Sulzby, 1994; Hicks & Kanvesky, 1992) have suggested that the narrative structures produced are not necessarily affiliated with the home culture of the child. They find that African American children, like children in general, often produce narrative structures typically found in school settings.
The research in this book extends previous research on narrative structures produced by African American children by suggesting that African American children do not produce one structure of narratives exclusively, as previously reported. My research suggests that African American children produce a repertoire of narrative structures. Some of the narrative structures found appear to have links to African and African American narrative structures, whereas other structures are similar to European American narrative structures.
Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the book. Areas covered in this chapter include the history of storytelling within the African American community, transformation from African to African American, African American English language studies, narrative analysis and purpose of thebook. The book is divided into three parts.
Part 1, “Approaches to Understanding Narrative Structures Among African American Children”(chapters 2 -4 of the book) provides a framework for understanding narrative structures among African American children. Chapter 2 presents an overview of research narrative structures among African Americans and West Africans. The African and African American cultures have a rich oral tradition within oral storytelling strategies. In chapter 3, I present the research design and procedures of the study presented in this book, and address how the study builds on and extends the research on narrative production among African American children. Because my perspective values the culture and social processes in which children develop, a mixed research designed was employed.
Part 11, Toward a Repertoire of Narrative Structures Among African American Children (chapters 5 -7), provides evidence that African American children pro