Effect of sentence-combining instruction on the reading and writing achievement of fifth-grade children in a suburban school district

Date
1980-12-31
Authors
McAfee, Deurelle
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Abstract

This study investigated the effects of sentence-combining instruction on the reading comprehension and writing maturity of fifth-grade children. The treatment groups were comprised of 25 fifth-grade children in the experimental group and 25 fifth graders in the control group. The students were randomly assigned to treatment groups from two ability-grouped reading classes at approximate grade level.

Answers to the following questions were sought: (1) Is there a significant difference between the reading comprehension scores of students receiving sentence-combining instruction and the reading comprehension scores of students receiving traditional language arts instruction as measured by the Test of Reading Comprehension, TORC? (2) Is there a significant difference between the written language scores of students receiving sentence-combining instruction and the written language scores of students receiving traditional language arts instruction as measured by the Test of Written Language, TOWL? (3) What differences are there in writing maturity over a 6-weeks period as measured by a qualitative analysis of two free-writing samples using TOWL procedures ?

At the beginning of treatment a 30-minute free-writing sample was collected from both experimental and control groups by the researcher. This served as a pretest.

For 6 weeks at the end of the spring semester, the experimental group received sentence-combining instruction for one-half of the language arts period (45 minutes) while the control group remained in the regular classroom for the second half (45 minutes) of the regularly scheduled language arts class. Sentence combining in this study in addition to manipulation of sentence pattern to produce more complex sentences included organization and writing of paragraphs and stories. In part materials used in the study were designed by the researcher from texts in use by both groups. Classroom teachers prepared lesson plans from manuals accompanying texts for traditional instruction. At the end of treatment both groups were tested for reading comprehension and writing maturity.

The statistical analyses for this investigation included two analyses of covariance and a proportional comparison tested at the .05 level of significance. Total Reading battery scores on the Stanford Achievement Test served as covariate data for ANOVAs. The results were as follows: (1) Students who received sentence-combining instruction had significantly improved reading comprehension scores after treatment compared to students who received no sentence-combining instruction. (2) Students who received sentence-combining instruction had significantly improved written language scores after treatment compared to students who received no sentence-combining instruction. (3) Students who received sentence-combining instruction had scores which showed significant improvement in free writing after treatment compared to students who received no sentence-combining.

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Keywords
Elementary reading, Writing, Fifth-grade, Reading comprehension, Language arts
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