The effect of the length and structure of sentences upon the silent reading process




Holland, Benjamin F.

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The extent to which the length and structure of sentences affect the processes involved in silent reading is a problem which has received little attention in the fundamental investigations of reading. This study is an attempt to deal experimentally, by means of an analysis of photographic records of eye movements, with certain phases of this problem. The specific questions and problems to which attention will be given are as follows: (1) Will an analysis of the photographic records of eye movements reveal differences in the reactions of subjects to complex or compound sentences and to simple sentences containing the same content? (2) What effect does a dependent clause at the beginning of a complex sentence have on the reading process as compared with the effect of a simple sentence containing the same content? (3) Are compound sentences read in the same manner as simple sentences which contain the same words? (4) In what respects does the reading of a long sentence differ from the reading of a group of short sentences having the same content? In brief, what is the effect of the length and the structure of sentences on the processes involved in silent reading by subjects selected from different school grades?