Case Study Research Report
Christine Y. Harris
Grand Canyon University RDG 581
October 12, 2011
Action Research Plan: Effective Interventions for Vocabulary Acquisition in Children of Disadvantaged Backgrounds
Research suggests that students can be taught phonics skills that are needed to become proficient readers. The use of strategies such as guessing from context, predicting and re-reading may aid, to some extent, with reading comprehension. However, according to Becker (1977), a primary difficulty in developing comprehension in the early years in reading is an inadequate vocabulary. An insufficient vocabulary will have an adverse impact on reading comprehension. ...view middle of the document...
As a result, the vocabulary of children of poverty will have been adversely impacted in their ability to read and comprehend literature
How can vocabulary acquisition for children of poverty be increased through educational interventions using explicit instruction?
According to Beck and McKeown (1991), reading is the single, largest source of vocabulary acquisition for students in grades three and up. Additionally, 5 to 6 year olds have working vocabularies ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 words. The child’s position in this range, top or bottom, depends on their reading skill entering the first grade. By first grade, the vocabularies of children from lower SES environments are half of those from higher SES environments. This gap widens over time. During these years students are exposed to more than 88,000 root words and affixes and more than 100,000 meanings during reading in their classroom. This indicates the importance of the role of providing explicit vocabulary instructions in the classroom. Additionally, children in grades K – 3 are reading at a much slower place, therefore are exposed to fewer words. The conclusion from this research that will impact the educational intervention plan for emerging struggling students like Cameron, is that they must develop fluency by learning new words. The more words a student is exposed to – the better the vocabulary.
The ability to read on grade level requires an ability to identify written words and know what those words mean. Children entering the first grade must develop an understanding of skills that are involved in understanding word meaning. Learning to read written text is not the same as learning to understand written texts (Juel and Deffes, 2004). To clarify, many children in first grade successfully learn to read but two years later are unable to understand these same books. A problem has been created in that children who are successful readers in first or second grade are unable to understand books they need to read in the later grades (Biemiller, 2007). This can be attributed mainly to the lack of an adequate vocabulary.
Although a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some vocabulary should be taught directly (National Institute of Literacy, 2002)). Direct instruction is the teaching of specific words, such as pre-teaching vocabulary prior to reading a selection. A student can determine word meanings by using word parts. Struggling students should be taught how to analyze roots and affixes using. When a struggling student encounter an unknown word they can use knowledge of root words, suffixes, and pre-fixes to help determine the meaning. .
Effective strategies must be taught to increase vocabularies for struggling readers (National Reading Council, 2002, National Institute for Learning, 2001). These strategies include the ability to learn new words. This can be done by the...