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Syntactic awareness and reading ability: Is there any evidence for a special relationship?

  • KATE CAIN (a1)

Syntactic awareness has been linked to word reading and reading comprehension. The predictive power of two syntactic awareness tasks (grammatical correction, word-order correction) for both aspects of reading was explored in 8- and 10-year-olds. The relative contributions of vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and memory to each were assessed. After vocabulary, memory explained variance on the word-order correction task; in contrast, grammatical knowledge explained performance on the grammatical correction task. The relation between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension was mediated by vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and memory; in contrast, word reading and syntactic awareness shared unique variance not explained by these controls. The implications for how we measure syntactic awareness and its relation with reading ability are discussed.

Corresponding author
Kate Cain, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YF, UK. E-mail:
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Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
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