Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur Smith


This study investigated the effectiveness of a structured sentence-combining/sentence-reduction program used to instruct fifth graders of average to above average reading ability. The primary purpose was to determine whether significant differences occurred between the performances of a treatment and control group on measures of writing maturity and reading comprehension. Writing performances of both groups on a Syntactic Maturity Test were analyzed using t-unit analysis. Three measures of writing maturity: words per t-unit, clauses per t-unit, and words per clause, were compared to determine if the writing maturity of the treatment group on each of these measures was significantly greater than that of the control group. Reading performances on an instructor designed cloze test were compared to determine whether the treatment group improved in their comprehension ability significantly beyond the control.

Thirty-six fifth grade students with average to above average reading ability participated in this study. The treatment and control groups were randomly chosen and found to be comparable in both reading and writing ability prior to beginning treatment. The treatment group received three half-hour instructional sessions a week for six weeks. A program of instruction was devised by the researcher based on exercises from previous research studies and published texts.

Writing and reading performances were compared using a t-test for independent means. The data were analyzed at the .05 level of significance. Significant differences were found between treatment and control group performances on two measures of writing maturity and on the cloze test measure of reading comprehension. No significant differences were found between the two groups in the number of words per clause used in their writing. However significant differences in words per t-unit, clauses per t-unit, and comprehension raw scores on the cloze test indicated gains in writing maturity and reading comprehension.

It was concluded that students instructed in a structured sentence-combining/sentence-reduction program improved both their reading and writing skills. Limitations and suggestions for further research in this area were noted. Suggestions for classroom applications of this program were discussed.