From Stories to Success: The Importance of Narrative Intervention

In the field of speech-language pathology, therapists use a versatile tool in therapy: narratives. These engaging stories serve as more than just tales; they are a key to addressing various language goals within a natural context. Before we use narratives as a context for teaching syntax, morphology, and semantics in language intervention, let's unpack why we might choose narratives as a target, teaching our students narrative structure (i.e., macrostructure) using story grammar elements.

Academic Benefits

  1. Children's narrative abilities play a pivotal role in shaping their academic journey. Narratives provide a context for learning within the classroom and foster higher-level thinking. Children's narrative skills are predictive of academic achievement with listening comprehension, reading comprehension, receptive vocabulary, and writing. It's because of these benefits that academic standards established across many states include objectives for comprehending and sharing narratives. By improving narrative abilities, therapists may help students navigate the academic landscape with greater success (Spencer & Petersen, 2020).

Social Benefits

  1. In everyday life, we share stories about our personal experiences with our friends, family, and peers. It's through sharing our own experiences and listening to others that we can connect with people and build relationships. In the school environment, children eagerly recount weekend adventures to their friends, and parents often want their children to talk about their day at school. Teaching narrative structure equips children to comprehend shared stories and, in turn, empowers them to effectively articulate their own experiences. Moreover, narratives provide a means for learning essential social skills as characters within stories engage in dialogue, navigate their emotions, and encounter and solve social problems.

Foundation for Language Goals

  1. The teaching of narrative structure and story grammar elements, collectively known as macrostructure, provides the framework necessary to increase success in teaching other language goals. By mastering the ability to comprehend, retell, and create stories, children develop a foundation that reduces their cognitive load and enhances their success in tackling language goals that address intricate aspects of language involving microstructure elements including syntax, morphology, and semantics within the context of narratives.

Overall, narratives are important for academic success, social interaction, and language development. As therapists, recognizing the multifaceted benefits of narratives allows us to address immediate language goals and lay a robust foundation for future achievements. By embracing narratives in therapy, we can foster skills that extend far beyond the therapy room.

Mikaela Argyrakis M.S., CF-SLP


Spencer, T. D., & Petersen, D. B. (2020). Narrative intervention: Principles to practice. Language, speech, and hearing services in schools, 51(4), 1081–1096.