Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



Understanding how young children are socialized to the process and products of storytelling as part of everyday family life is important for language and literacy instruction. A language socialization framework was used to understand storytelling practices on the Navajo Nation. This study examined how three young English-speaking Navajo children, ages 3, 4 and 6, were socialized to tell stories. The broad research question that guided this work was, 'How are young English-speaking Navajo children socialized to tell stories?' The following methods were used: (a) observations of primary child participants, (b) interviews with adult family members of primary child participants, and (c) document review. Several major themes emerged including: Societal Changes, Why We Tell Stories, and Aspects of Good Stories. Analysis also revealed associated subthemes. Results of the study addressed routines, contexts, and interactions that support storytelling. As language shifts from Navajo to English, aspects of Navajo culture and culturally influenced discourse patterns remain in primarily English-speaking homes. The implication of this study is that as cultural and linguistic practices change on the Navajo Nation, so do the socialization processes and products of storytelling."


Language Socialization, Storytelling, Navajo

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Copeland, Susan

Second Committee Member

Qi, Cathy

Third Committee Member

Lee, Tiffany