Approaches to Understanding Narrative Structures
Among African American Children
The goal of this book is to extend the research on narrative production among African American children by emphasizing the repertoire of narrative structures produced depending upon the prompts used to elicit narratives. Part I 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 perspective presented here is that narrative production by African American children is grounded in the cultural and social processes in the African American community. The African American culture has a rich oral tradition with roots in West African oral storytelling. African American children are socialized toward this oral tradition from a young age in different community contexts such as the church and the playground. When children enter school, they encounter a socialization process that may or may not be similar to their home culture. Some African American children, however, have mastered the narrative structures of the school culture. Thus, some African American children produce a range of narrative structures with some structures representing the culture of their community and others representing the culture of school.
Chapter 3 outlines the research design and procedures of the study presented in this book and addresses 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 of children's experiences, a mixed research designed was employed. The analysis presented in this chapter examines narratives from school (mainstream) and home (culture) perspectives.