Karlsen, Hjetland, Hagtvet, Braeken & Melby-Lervåg (2021): The concurrent and longitudinal relationship between narrative skills and other language skills in children
I: First Language. Online first. Open Access.
We examined the concurrent relationship between narrative skills (the Renfrew Bus Story Test) and core language measures (vocabulary, grammar and verbal memory) at age 4 and the longitudinal relationship between core language and listening comprehension skills at age 7 in a sample of 215 children using latent variables and structural equation modelling. Our main purpose was to investigate to what extent narrative retell constitutes a unique influence on later language and listening comprehension skills. The results support a two-factor model of narrative retelling and core language representing different but related constructs at age 4. Narrative retell explained unique variance in later language skills but did not explain additional variance beyond the 58% explained by the age 4 language construct. Similarly, narrative retell predicted unique variance in later listening comprehension, but not beyond what was explained by core language skills at age 4. The strength of the relationship between narrative retelling at age 4 and the age 7 measures was not related to the level of narrative skills. The results indicate that age 4 traditional core language measures capture more of the skills that are important for later language and listening comprehension than narrative skills at the same age.