Date of Award

Fall 1995

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bogenschild, Erika

Second Advisor

Allen, Linda

Third Advisor

Leslie, Lauren


Recent research in cognitive psychology postulates information processing as a theory of learning. Information-processing describes three necessary components of learning: (1) perceiving and attending to stimuli, (2) encoding stimuli, and (3) storing and retrieving information. An integral part of information-processing is schema theory which contends that knowledge is encoded and stored in memory in data structures which are interrelated, which contain generic information, and which provide representative meaning of the external world to the individual. These knowledge structures mediate comprehension, are organized in a hierarchical manner, and change as new information is accumulated. Schema theory, then, suggests that information or knowledge is not stored in a haphazard manner, but that individuals seek to attach meaning and structure to new and existing information. Using the tenets of schema theory, the existence of story grammars was theorized, and models of such grammars were devised and described. These story grammars identify the critical elements of simple stories, the causal relationship between elements, and the typical order in which these elements occur.s Story grammars suggest that stories possess an idealized or generic structure, account for the manner in which stories or narrations are encoded, stored, and retrieved, and implicate that knowledge of the idealized structure, that is, possession of a schema, improves comprehension. While story grammars for simple narrations have become formalized and employed successfully in the elementary classroom as an instructional methodology for analyzing the story, no such grammars exist for more complex and longer genre-specific works. Attempts to delineate the critical elements of genre-specific works have resulted in classification systems which seek to identify more definitively different genres, but researchers have not yet devised actual story grammars for the unique genres. Recommendations in abundance for such genre-specific grammars are found in the research literature...



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