Written narrative of students with and without difficulty in syntactic awareness


  • Ana Claudia Constant Soares Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo (FMRP-USP). Ribeirão Preto (SP) - Brazil
  • Patrícia Aparecida Zuanetti Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo (HCFMRP-USP) - Ribeirão Preto (SP) – Brasil
  • Kelly da Silva Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS). Campus Profº Antônio Garcia Filho - Lagarto (SE) – Brasil.
  • Raphaela Barroso Guedes-Granzotti Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS) -São Cristóvão - São Cristóvão/SE (SE) – Brazil
  • Marisa Tomoe Hebihara Fukuda Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo (FMRP-USP). Ribeirão Preto (SP) - Brazil




child language, language development, narration, handwriting, learning, syntactic awareness


Introduction: Syntactic awareness is a metalinguistic ability defined as the child’s ability to reflect on formal processes relating to the organization of words in sentences and to manipulate them. This skill is still little explored in the context of school learning, and its importance in the school learning process of Portuguese-speaking children is poorly described.

Objective: To compare written narrative between children with and without difficulty in syntactic awareness.

Methods: The study was conducted on 60 children (mean age 9.4 years; SD: 0.9) enrolled in the 4th and 5th years of elementary school in a municipal school. The subjects were divided into two groups according to their performance in the task of syntactic awareness - G1 (children with medium/high performance in syntactic awareness) and G2 (lower performance). After the assessment of syntactic awareness each child elaborated a written narrative text based on a stimulus figure. This text was analyzed by judges in terms of spelling, grammatical errors, use of grammatical classes, and content. The Student t-test (α = 0.05) was used to compare the groups.

Results: G2 children showed altered handwriting; greater occurrence of spelling mistakes, mainly of irregular phonographic relation type; oral support and difficulty with nasal markers; short texts with preference for the use of nouns and verbs, as well as difficulties with text structuring, use of punctuation and vocabulary, while G1 used more verbs and pronouns instead of nouns.

Conclusions: Children with adequate syntactic awareness were able to elaborate written narratives with greater competence, demonstrating acquisition of orthographic aspects and development of textual coherence.


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