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bilingual, language sample analysis, measurement properties, narrative, reliability



  1. Heilmann, John PhD
  2. Miller, Jon F. PhD
  3. Iglesias, Aquiles PhD
  4. Fabiano-Smith, Leah PhD
  5. Nockerts, Ann MS
  6. Andriacchi, Karen Digney MS


Recent research documents the power of oral narrative language samples to predict reading achievement in both Spanish and English in English language learners (ELLs; J. Miller et al., 2006). To document their clinical utility, this article addresses issues of accuracy and reliability for transcription and analysis of oral narratives elicited from Spanish-English bilingual children. We first reviewed the unique considerations that must be made when transcribing narratives elicited from ELLs. To demonstrate that narrative transcription is clinically feasible, we documented that a single clinician can accurately transcribe children's oral narratives and that the measures acquired from these samples are reliable. Forty oral narratives were first transcribed by a single transcriber, and then checked and retranscribed by additional transcribers. High levels of accuracy and agreement between transcribers were observed across both the English and the Spanish transcripts. Test-retest reliability was documented for 241 transcripts produced by the ELL children. Significant correlations were observed between Time 1 and Time 2 for 4 narrative measures. These data demonstrate that oral narrative data from ELL children can be accurately transcribed and the narrative measures are stable over time, providing the research foundation for clinical use of narrative language samples.