An approach to the evaluation of children's narrative writing
Research in the field of children's narrative writing is reviewed and the development of children as tellers and writers of stories is described within a framework which encompasses fantasy play, drawing and social role-taking abilities. An enpirical study is reported which was carried out in one London junior school. Stories written by 113 children who were between 7- and 11 years of age were evaluated by focusing on specific attributes of the characters in narratives. Stories were scored for characteristics of the self or hero/heroine, attributes of other characters, details of social and physical environment and the sense of awareness of the reader's needs. The results provided evidence of age-related increases in the numbers of references' to internal psychological states which children make in their stories. The narratives were also analysed for structure,and develo mental trends in the complexity of the structure* which c ildren use were observed. Each child was interviewed in order to elicit his/her concept of story. It is suggested that the analysis provides a useful method for evaluating the development of children's imaginative writing. The method is quantifiable and it also retains the quality of meaning which the child is trying to express, and gives insights into the groing capacity of children to understand the psychological characteristics of people in their social world and to structure happenings in a coherent way.