Morphological and syntactic awareness in poor comprehenders : another piece of the puzzle

Tong, Xiuli and Deacon, Helene and Cain, Kate (2014) Morphological and syntactic awareness in poor comprehenders : another piece of the puzzle. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47 (1). pp. 22-33. ISSN 0022-2194

[thumbnail of Tong_Deacon_Cain_JLD2014]
PDF (Tong_Deacon_Cain_JLD2014)
Tong_Deacon_Cain_JLD2014.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (235kB)


Poor comprehenders have intact word reading skills but struggle specifically with understanding what they read. We investigated whether two metalinguistic skills, morphological and syntactic awareness, are specifically related to poor reading comprehension by including separate and combined measures of each. We identified poor comprehenders (n = 15) and average comprehenders (n = 15) in grade 4 who were matched on word reading accuracy and speed, vocabulary, nonverbal cognitive ability, and age. The two groups performed comparably on a morphological awareness task that involved both morphological and syntactic cues. However, poor comprehenders performed less well than average comprehenders on a derivational word analogy task in which there was no additional syntactic information, thus tapping only morphological awareness, and also less well on a syntactic awareness task, in which there were no morphological manipulations. Our task and participant selection process ruled out key non-metalinguistic sources of influence on these tasks. These findings suggest that the relationships among reading comprehension, morphological awareness, and syntactic awareness, depend on the tasks used to measure the latter two. Future research needs to identify precisely in what ways these metalinguistic difficulties connect to challenges with reading comprehension.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Learning Disabilities
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47 (1), 2014, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Learning Disabilities page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? metalinguistic awarenessmorphological awarenesssyntactic awarenesspoor comprehendersreading comprehensioneducationhealth(social science)health professions(all) ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
31 Jul 2013 10:29
Last Modified:
18 Dec 2023 01:21