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The use of props in a syntactic awareness task*

  • Amanda Marie Blackmore (a1), Chris Pratt (a2) and Alison Dewsbury (a3)


The study investigated the effects of using props to illustrate the meaning of sentences in a syntactic awareness task in which subjects were required to correct ungrammatical sentences. Forty preschool children (aged 4;11 to 5;11) were asked to correct 20 sentences, 10 of which were illustrated using props, and 10 of which were not. Children scored significantly higher in the props condition though the proportion of meaning-changing errors to total errors was not significantly lower in this condition. It is argued that the use of props, by providing contextual support, reduces the processing capacity required to complete the task.


Corresponding author

Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Campus, Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, Western Australia, 6027.


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We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of the children who participated in this study and their teachers. While this research was being conducted, the first author was receiving a Commonwealth Postgraduate Scholarship and this research was part of the work submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Western Australia, Department of Psychology.



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