Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


This study was designed to examine the effect of syntax on the silent reading comprehension of intermediate grade level students. Two test instruments were used for this purpose, the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test, Survey D and a comprehension test of increasingly complex syntax. Both tests were administered to 101 fifth and sixth-grade students in a suburban elementary school.

The results of the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test were used to determine individual levels of reading achievement. This information was then applied in the AUOVA 3 computer program at the State University College at Brockport to analyze the results of the test of increasingly complex syntax.

The results of this study clearly showed that the syntax of a given sentence did significantly influence the silent reading comprehension of intermediate grade level students. As the syntax became progressively more complex in the test sentences, the subjects experienced greater difficulty comprehending those sentences and selecting the correct answers to the test questions.

Students would benefit from an application of these findings. By being made aware of the existence of syntax and its function and by being exposed to different structures, the student would be better equipped to read for understanding. Further benefit could be derived by taking the complexity or syntax into account when analyzing the readability of the printed page. In this way, a more accurate measure of difficulty is made possible.

Further research remains to be done to examine the comprehension of both individual syntactic structures and combinations of these structures along with a measure of the degree to which the surrounding context influences readability. Different grade levels and populations should be looked at in terms of syntax and its influence on comprehension. Also, teaching materials for strengthening syntactic skills and diagnostic tests have yet to be created.


The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, a copyrighted item has not been reproduced in the online thesis.

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