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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Commun Sci Disord. 2008;13(3): 397-417.
Syntactic Processing during Sentence Comprehension of Poor Readers at Grades 4 to 6
Mina Hwang`
Copyright ©2008 The Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
황민아(Mina Hwang)
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ABSTRACT

Background & Objectives
Studies on syntactic skills of students with reading disabilities or poor readers focused on their metasyntactic skills or their subtest scores on grammar from standardized tests of spoken language, not on their syntactic processing during sentence reading. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the characteristics of syntactic processing of poor readers while they read and comprehended given sentences.
Methods
A total of 102 elementary students (50 poor readers and 52 normal readers) at grades 4 to 6 participated in this study. Each participant performed two sentence comprehension tasks using two types of sentences of different syntactic complexity (simple sentences of noun-noun-verb form and complex sentences containing a relative-clause). A half of simple sentences were of SOV order and the other were of OSV order. Complex sentences contained either a subject relative-clause or an object relative-clause. A sentencepicture verification method was used for both sentence comprehension tasks and response times (RT) as well as response accuracies were measured.
Results
The poor readers were significantly less accurate than the normal readers in performing both simple-sentence and complex-sentence comprehension tasks. Both groups of students’ comprehension accuracies were greater for SOV sentences than for OSV sentences, and were greater for subject relative-clauses than for object relative-clauses. No statistically significant interaction effects involving group and sentence types were noted in accuracy measures of the two tasks. In the analysis of RT for simple sentence comprehension, a significant interaction effect between group and word-order was noted. The normal readers were significantly faster in comprehending SOV sentences than in comprehending OSV sentences, while such RT difference across sentence types was not observed in the poor readers.
Discussion & Conclusion
In general, the poor readers showed difficulties in syntactic processing during sentence comprehension relative to their normal peers. However, they did not exhibit atypical patterns of syntactic processing as their performance patterns in two sentence comprehension tasks were similar to those of the normal readers. The significant interaction effect between group and word-order of simple sentences in the RT measures was interpreted as an evidence of the poor readers’ inefficiency in utilizing word-order and case-markers in analyzing the syntactic structures of sentences.
Keywords: 읽기부진 | 문장이해 | 통사처리 | 어순 | 관형절유형 | poor readers | reading comprehension of sentences
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