Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology


Linnea C Ehri

Committee Members

David Rindskopf

Dolores Perin

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology


Literacy, Think Aloud, Summarizing, Story Structure, Story Grammar


School-age children are frequently asked to read and summarize narrative texts. However, despite the frequency that summarizing tasks are assigned, teachers infrequently provide instruction on summarizing narratives. In addition, researchers have failed to empirically investigate a summarizing technique specifically designed for narratives. In Study 1, thirty typically developing fourth grade students read passages at lower and upper levels of difficulty and produced summaries of the passages. The treatment participants received four, thirty-minute intervention sessions on using story grammar to summarize the narratives. Results found that story grammar is an effective method for summarizing narratives, and that text difficulty impacts summarizing ability. However, Study 1 also found that the participants struggled to correctly identify the story solution across both levels of text difficulty. Therefore, Study 2 was designed to further examine the online and offline processes readers use to identify the story problem and solution, and additional factors that may impact it. Specifically, Study 2 used a think aloud protocol to investigate online processes for identifying the story problem and solution. The study further investigated the impact of additional factors such as knowledge of story structure, exposure to narratives, and text difficulty on identifying the story problem and solution. Results suggested that, overall, participants’ identification of the story problem and solution were impacted by text level, knowledge of narrative structure, and exposure to print.