Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney


Since the early 1900's reading theorists have agreed that the understanding of various syntactic relationships does play a role in reading comprehension. This study attempted to investigate the effect of specific syntactic manipulation (verb) on the reading comprehension of intermediate and junior high school students. Each group was divided into good or poor readers based on results of the Stanford Achievement Test. Both good and poor readers were equal in vocabulary ability and differed only in their comprehension. A researcher-designed oral reading task consisting of specially constructed sentence trios was administered to each student. The trios consisted of a syntactically and semantically correct sentence, a sentence which was syntactically correct but semantically incorrect and a totally disruptive sentence. As each student read a total of 15 sentences, an error count (omissions, substitutions, insertions and repetitions) was tabulated. The results of the study demonstrated that the poor readers in grade four made significantly more errors than the good readers for the totally disruptive sentences. There was no significant difference found for individual sentence types between the good and poor eighth grade readers, When comparing only the poor readers from both grades, the fourth grade students made significantly more errors for each sentence type than did the eighth grade students. Comparison of all students from both grades revealed the fourth grade students made significantly more errors than the eighth graders for two sentence types and total sentences read.