Cain, Kate and Patson, Nikole and Andrews, Leanne (2005) Age- and ability-related differences in young readers’ use of conjunctions. Journal of Child Language, 32 (4). pp. 877-892. ISSN 0305-0009
Two studies investigating young readers’ use of conjunctions are reported. In Study One, 145 eight- to ten-year-olds completed one of two narrative cloze tasks in which different types of conjunction were deleted. Performance for additive conjunctions was not affected by age in this study, but older children were more likely to select the target conjunction than were younger children for temporal, causal, and adversative terms. Performance was superior in the cloze task in which they were given a restricted choice of responses (three vs. seven). In Study Two, 35 eight- and nine-year-old good and poor comprehenders completed the three-choice cloze task. The poor comprehenders were less likely to select the target terms in general. Sentence-level comprehension skills did not account for their poor performance. The results indicate that understanding of the semantic relations expressed by conjunctions is still developing long after these terms are used correctly in children’s speech. The findings are discussed in relation to the role of conjunctions in text comprehension.
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