There is some evidence showing that as students’ knowledge of the structure of complex sentences and their understanding of the vocabulary of grammar (nouns, verbs) increases so to does their reading comprehension.  In addition, readability measures (i.e., a measure of how easy it is to read and understand text) are based on the difficulty of the vocabulary and the complexity of the grammar.  It also makes sense that completing a comprehension exercise such as the cloze exercises included in the Cracking the ABC Code Comprehension books are easier to complete if students have a ‘language of grammar’.  If you know, for example, the difference between a noun and a verb and the function they perform in a sentence, then you would more easily be able to determine which word would most logically fit in a particular section of a sentence.

By providing this type of grammatical scaffolding we are eliminating guessing and encouraging students to comprehend.

Interestingly, in Muter et al.’s (2004) longitudinal study, the better a student’s grammatical knowledge at school entry, the better their reading comprehension two years later.



Cupples, L. & Holmes, V. M.  (1992).  Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and reading comprehension skill.  Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 21, 249-274.

McQuirter, S. R. (2008). Knowing words: Creating word-rich classrooms. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

Muter, V., Hulme, C., Snowling, M.J., & Stevenson, J. (2004). Phonemes, Rimes, Vocabulary, and Grammatical Skills as Foundations of Early Reading Development: Evidence From a Longitudinal Study. Developmental Psychology, (5) 665-681.