Using a word order correction paradigm, we assessed syntactic awareness skills in children
with good and poor reading comprehension, matched for age, decoding skill, and nonverbal
ability. Poor comprehenders performed less well than normal readers, and the performance of
both groups was influenced by the syntactic complexity and semantic ambiguity of the sentences.
These findings support the view that poor comprehenders have language processing difficulties
encompassing grammatical as well as semantic weaknesses, although their phonological
processing skills are normal. The implications of such language weaknesses for the development
of skilled reading are discussed.