Syntactic and Lexical Complexity of Reading Correlates with Complexity of Writing in Adults

Yellowlees Douglas, Samantha Miller


This study solicited a cohort of graduate students, aged 23-42, to identify their most frequently-read sources, including online content, newspapers, news magazines, genre and “literary” fiction, and general non-fiction. We analyzed text samples from sources and students’ writing, using the Lexile® framework and software that computes 14 features of syntactic complexity. This study validates the accuracy of the Lexile® framework, based on more granular measures of syntactic complexity than the mean sentence length Lexile uses as part of its scoring mechanism. More significantly, this study found strong correlations between lexical and syntactic complexity of student reading materials and students’ writing.

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International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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