Literacy 4-6

Systems Change

Factor Connections

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Syntax skills help us understand how sentences work—the meanings behind word order, structure, and punctuation. By providing supports for developing Syntax skills, we can help students understand and write increasingly complex texts.

Main Ideas

Components of Syntax include:

  • Expressive Syntax: The Syntax a student can produce and use in speaking and writing; and
  • Receptive Syntax: The Syntax a student can understand when hearing speech and reading text.

Syntactic development begins in childhood and continues through early adulthood. Written language typically uses more complex Syntax than oral language. In particular, writing that incorporates academic language uses more sophisticated Syntax and Vocabulary than the social language we use in informal conversations and writing.

Syntax awareness is an essential metalinguistic skill that refers to the ability to consciously reflect on and manipulate Syntax. As students advance through school, they are required to comprehend and write increasingly more complex texts with the support of their Syntax skills and awareness. Reading is critical for the development of Syntax skills, and students in turn use those skills to read increasingly challenging texts to learn class material. Students also are required to communicate more complicated ideas in their writing, and one way they do this is by properly using Syntax to effectively combine sentences.

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