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Using Story Grammar to Support Executive Functioning and Self-Advocacy Skills | Narrative Language

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

๐’๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ฆ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐œ๐ก ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ง ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐š๐ ๐ž๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ


To be honestโ€ฆ working on narrative language and story grammar has benefitted some of my students more in the areas of social-emotional learning and self-regulation than in expressive or receptive language.


I love narrative language intervention because you can get SO much ๐Ÿ’ฅbang๐Ÿ’ฅ for your ๐Ÿ’ต buck ๐Ÿ’ต


Story Grammar 101

Story grammar serves to teach the structure or "schema" of story. It generally models a problem-attempt-consequence sequence. I prefer to include the emotions associated with the problems/solutions because:

  • They establish natural, meaningful causality and cohesion between elements of the story.

  • They make stories more relatable.

  • They support encoding and retrieval of episodic memories.

  • It plays a powerful role if you want to effectively use story grammar to support skills such as coregulation and self-regulation.

When children become familiar with the structure or schema of a narrative, they are able to more readily able to comprehend and produce cohesive narratives AND use this schema to support their own problem solving, especially in social situations.


Story Grammar Can Support Coregulation

When children are familiar with story grammar, you can use the schema similar to a "script" to coregulate and support children through moments of dysregulation (which often present as an emotion secondary to a problem). This helps students to identify problems as they occur and relate them to their immediate feelings. It also helps them to learn that they, in many cases, can attempt to fix the problem to return to safety or a regulated state (which often aligns with the positive ending/end feeling).


Children often require support and modeling, however, to resolve the problem and return to a regulated state. The story grammar schema often helps childrento better understand, once regulated, how they moved from a moment of dysregulation (problem) to a more comfortable state (ending). Modeling such a sequence helps to support the child in using the same strategy to move through comparable problems in the future.


Story Grammar Can Support Self Regulation

Effective coregulation lays a foundation for increased self-regulation. Children can use the knowledge of story grammar and how it has been modeled and applied to them to self regulate with increased independence. Children can learn to more readily:

  • Identify problems as they occur

  • Identify related or subsequent emotions

  • Attempt to resolve problems that occur

This can help the child feel more in control and minimize the amount of time spent dysregulated.


Story Grammar Can Support Independent Problem Solving

Familiarity with story grammar and the ability to recognize how the schema applies in real-time enables children to be independent problem solvers. When a problem and corresponding negative feelings arise, the child can learn to react and think or ask themself, "how can I fix this?" This mindset and use of self-talk and story grammar knowledge facilitates independent problem solving.


Story Grammar Can Support Safety & Self Advocacy

The ability to retell a cohesive story or recount an experience with adequate organization and detail allows children to provide information effectively when needed. Lack of adequate organization or detail may result in listener confusion, which could be potentially dangerous in a dire situation


Click here to learn more about coregulation and self-regulation!

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