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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparison of the oral syntax of Canadian kindergarten children with the written syntax in the beginning basal readers Dempsey, Mary Deirdre


The purpose of this study was to compare the oral syntax of selected Canadian kindergarten children with the written syntax in the two beginning reading series prescribed for use in the schools in British Columbia. The oral language data was obtained by taping twenty-four kindergarten children from three selected schools in Richmond, B.C. The children were taped in three different sessions within their classroom - a free-play session, a story-telling session and an interview session. The written language data was obtained by analysing the first two books from the Grade one level for the Reading 720 and Language Patterns (Revised) basal reading series. Based on the syntactic measures used, for the most part the children's oral syntax was found to be significantly more complex than the syntax in the Reading 720 series. (p<1.05). Except for the use of dependent clauses, and the length of adverb phrases and clauses, the Language Patterns series was found to be closely matched to the syntax of the children. The results of this study warrant careful consideration by those involved in the creation and implementation of beginning reading materials.

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