Reading and the Matthew Effect.

(The Matthew Effect = To those that have, shall be given more.)


Corandic is an emurient grof with many fribs: it granks from corite, an olg which cargs like lange. Corite grinkles several other taranaces, which garkers excarp by glarcking the corite and starping it in tranker-clarped strobs. The tarances starp a chark which is exparged with worters, branking a slorp. This slorp is garped through other corusces, finally frasting a pragety, blickard crankle: coranda.

Questions: –

  1. What is corandic?
  2. What does corandic grank from?
  3. How do garkers excarp the tarances from the corite?
  4. What does the slorp finally frast?

As can be seen from the nonsense passage above, an understanding of basic sentence structure enables the reader to answer comprehension questions, even when the text and questions are gibberish. Fortunately, an appreciation of the conventions of written language, (or syntax), has many more worthwhile applications, for example, to help a child make a calculated guess when trying to read an unfamiliar word.

The dog growled at the man.

‘Mmm. The word I don’t recognise is growled. The word begins with ‘gr’: gran? green? No, it’s something that the dog is doing to the man, so it’s got to be a verb: grew? grip? It has the smaller word ‘owl’ in the middle: gr – owl? Would that make sense? The word ends in ‘ed’. Gr-owl-ed? The dog growled at the man? Yes, the word must be growled.’

Key point for reading development = Children develop an understanding of syntax, or how words are organised in written sentences, through reading and being read to.

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