Executive Function and Narrative Language Abilities in Emergent Bilingual Preschoolers: An Exploratory Study

Elysha Clark-Whitney, Gigliana Melzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In light of the importance of preschool oral narrative skills as precur-sors to literacy, this exploratory study examined expressive language skills among emergent bilingual Latine preschoolers using a naturalistic personal narrative task. To understand the factors that support language use in the personal narrative context for this population, we examined the contribution of children’s executive function (EF) skills to their narrative language abilities. Method: Children completed two subtests from the Preschool Self-Regulation Assessment to measure EF and produced two personal narratives in response to conversational prompts. A series of linear regressions were used to evaluate the relation between children’s EF skills and their narrative production ability, narrative organization, and expressive language skills derived from automated analyses of narrative samples. Results: EF was found to predict children’s ability to produce a personal narrative but not the language skills children demonstrated in these narratives. Conclusions: The current findings suggest that EF is implicated in emergent bilingual Latine children’s narrative abilities. At the preschool age, the contribution of EF to narrative language production is apparent in the global task of pro-ducing a narrative, rather than in the organizational or linguistic features of the narrative. As such, supporting both EF and narrative skills might be an important means of facilitating preliteracy among bilingual children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-599
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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