Purpose: This study analyzed the development of expressive elaboration in fictional narratives for school-age children.
Method: The analysis was derived from high-point analysis, but it was tailored to capture the artful aspects of fictional storytelling. Narratives were elicited with a short picture sequence of a likely life event from 293 children whose ages ranged from 5 to 12 years.
Results: Results showed a significant age effect for expressive elaboration with narrative length controlled. For three age clusters (5–6 years, 7–9 years, and 10–12 years), the 13 types of expressive elaboration showed diverse patterns of acquisition in terms of presence, frequency, and developmental change. Appendages (introducer, abstract, theme, coda, ender) were lowest in both presence and frequency, and increased in presence with age. Orientations (names, relations, personality) were more common and increased in presence with age. Evaluations (modifiers, expressions, repetition, internal states, dialogue) were most frequent and showed age changes in both presence and frequency.
Clinical Implications: This study provides an additional window on narrative competence. The analysis and results can guide narrative assessment and intervention.