Complex Sentence Intervention
It's here, it's here, it's here! As a graduate research assistant, I worked on this project for the 2 years of my master's degree and I continue to be connected to the project today. I had the awesome opportunity to deliver the intervention for several of the participants in this study and I learned SO much about complex sentences. My work on this project is where I fell in love with research, syntax, and relative clauses.
Are you ready to hear what's possible with this intervention and how I've been incorporating the work into my own practice since then? Click here to read the entire article.
In this study, school-aged children with specific language impairment (SLI) (i.e., adequate nonverbal IQ but impaired language) were provided intervention for adverbial, object complement, and relative clauses--known sentence types to be difficult for students with SLI. Following intervention, the students demonstrated moderate effect sizes for improvement on adverbial and relative clause probe measures. Additionally, the group on average increased their CELF standard score by almost TEN points!!! With some students' language impairments normalizing into the typical range. Formulated Sentences had the biggest jump.
In my own clinical practice, I have many students who struggle with complex sentences. The biggest impact this project has had on my work....I am now fluent in complex sentences. I see a sentence and I can quickly judge how complex it is, how the clauses relate to one another, and where a student may struggle. Without a doubt, this has transformed my intervention approach. With reading comprehension, my students and I go sentence by sentence, decomposing multiclausal complex sentences and developing awareness for how clauses interact. Depending on the student and their needs, I will do direct instruction as discussed in this article. That is, teaching them what adverbial, object complement, and relative clause are and how they work. This intervention approach carries over into written composition too. We identify simple sentences and work on combining them into multiclausal complex sentences.
As discussed in the literature review of this article, complex sentences are key to academic success. Curricular text is full of complex sentences, and sophisticated writing requires them too. If complex sentences aren't already in your school-aged intervention toolbox, they need to be. Balthazar & Scott (2018) is a great place to start!