A comparative analysis of the effects of using storytelling vs. graphic organizers to improve narrative writing skills of 5th grade students with learning disabilities

The purpose ofthis study was to compare the effectiveness of two prewriting strategies for teaching narrative writing to 5th grade students with learning disabilities: storytelling and graphic organizers. It was the hypothesis ofthe researcher that storytelling would result in greater improvements in participants' narrative writing skills. The design chosen for the study was a mixed, repeated-measures design and involved the collection ofboth quantitative and qualitative data. A convenience sample was used to select participants. All participants were enrolled in the 5th grade special day class during the 2006-2007 school year. Students were provided with direct instruction in the story grammar text structure along with direct instruction in both experimental conditions. Student writing samples were collected and analyzed for the following: total word count, number and type ofstory grammar elements included, and overall holistic scores. Pretest and posttest writing samples were compared, as well as both posttest writing samples. Results indicated that both storytelling and graphic organizers helped to improve the narrative writing skills of student participants. Neither strategy significantly increased the narrative writing skills ofthe participants compared to the other strategy. Future studies could perhaps explore the use of a combination ofthe two strategies in teaching students with learning disabilities writing in the narrative form.