From grammar to reading: A study on referential dependencies

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In this article, we present a study that investigated relations between grammar teaching and reading in Portuguese as mother tongue. The study, in which 91 students have participated, aimed at (i) pre-assessing students' ability to comprehend referential dependencies in reading at different stages (grade 4, 9-10 years old; grade 6, 11-12 years old; and grade 8, 12-13 years old), (ii) proposing a teaching intervention to develop language awareness about referential dependencies and, more specifically, to develop strategies to identify antecedents of pronouns (grade 4) and (iii) assessing the effects of the teaching intervention (grade 4). The study was based on a quasi-experimental methodology, with pre and posttests and a teaching intervention developed in the classroom, based on discovery-learning methods. Results of the study, which show positive effects of the teaching intervention, reinforce the benefits of grammar teaching as language awareness development. The study also offers a contribution towards the discussion of the role of grammar teaching to the development of late acquired structures, such as particular types of referential dependencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-77
Number of pages18
JournalBellaterra Journal of Teaching and Learning Language and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Explicit knowledge of language
  • Language awareness
  • Pronouns
  • Reading comprehension
  • Referential dependencies


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