The Syntax Attuned Educator: Supporting Students’ Ability to Comprehend Sentences

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Syntax Attuned Educator: Supporting Students’ Ability to Comprehend Sentences

presented by Margie Gillis, Ed.D.

February 9, 2022

The recording is now available on the IDA-GA YouTube Channel (and below).

The direct link to the recording is

Click HERE to view the presentation slides.

Click HERE to view links to resources mentioned during the presentation.

Syntactic knowledge, the ability to understand a variety of grammatical structures within the context of a sentence, supports students’ comprehension of text. This session presents research on syntax and explains its critical role in comprehending complex text. Armed with this understanding, educators learn how to teach their students the functions of sentence parts—words, phrases, and clauses—in order to show them how to unpack the meaning of sentences they encounter in text.


  1. To share research on the role that syntactic knowledge plays in reading comprehension
  2. To explain why teachers need to build their own syntactic knowledge
  3. To present some instructional activities to support students’ ability to comprehend a variety of sentences

Resources Discussed and Links shared during the webinar:

00:40:07 Perspectives Article Link:…






01:40:33 The Syntax Handbook: Everything You Learned About Syntax (But Forgot) by Laura M. Justice, Helen K. Ezell (2007)

01:41:20 Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King

01:42:38 William Van Cleave – Look for his instructional videos on YouTube and also materials at…

Framing Your Thoughts by Victoria Greene (PROJECT READ) – We found this Guide; it’s over 100 pages! View it HERE

Dr. Margie B. Gillis, Ed.D. is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, a research affiliate at Haskins Laboratories and the founder and president of  Literacy How, a non-profit organization that provides professional development for teachers on how to apply the Science of Reading. Margie is also the president of Anne Fowler Foundation providing scholarships for educators. She is the co-founder of Smart Kids with LD, the former president of ConnBIDA, and a board member of the Academic Language Therapy Association and the Reading League of CT. She is an editor of the IDA Perspectives Journal and the Reading League Journal and a professional advisor for Understood, ReadWorks, and the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction. Margie believes that learning to read is a civil right and that all children benefit from research and evidence-based instruction.

Thank you to our 2022 Spotlight on Structured Literacy Sponsors!

It is with the continued support of our sponsors that we are able to offer not only scholarship and grant opportunities but also events like this that are free and open to all those interested in learning more about dyslexia and effective interventions.