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Keyword mnemonic strategy: A study of SAT vocabulary in high school English

Dissertation
Author: Kristina Callihan DeWitt
Abstract:
The purpose for this research study was to introduce and develop supplementary English material for SAT vocabulary instruction by providing memory-enhancing strategies for students with and without disabilities. Five inclusive English classrooms were assigned treatments in a within-subjects crossover design where all students received both treatment conditions--traditional instruction and mnemonic instruction. Memory-enhancing strategies are mnemonic devices that target specific vocabulary and provide additional practice using a visual representation to increase comprehension. Mnemonic devices assist students with encoding the new content information in order to make retrieval easier. Participants included 103 students in 10 th through 12th grade, including 31 students with disabilities. Two general education teachers and two special education teachers participated in this study. Students received instruction in two units for four weeks and were pre and post tested on all vocabulary introduced. Students were given strategy use and satisfaction surveys. Attitudinal and satisfaction surveys were also given to teachers. Overall findings revealed that students with disabilities performed significantly better on delayed cumulative posttest. Tenth grade students in the mnemonic condition performed descriptively higher on delayed cumulative posttest than eleventh and twelfth graders. The majority of students responded that, compared to traditional instruction, they preferred and enjoyed the use of mnemonic strategies as well as learned how to generalize to their own learning preferences. Teacher attitudes varied but mostly favored mnemonic instruction. Findings are discussed with respect to differences from previous research, implications for practice, and future research.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page List of Tables ................................................................................................................. vii List of Figures ............................................................................................................... viii Abstract ........................................................................................................................... ix 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem ............................................................................................4 My Experience with the Problem ...............................................................................6 Significance of the Problem ........................................................................................9 Research Questions ...................................................................................................10 Definition of Key Terms ...........................................................................................11 2. Literature Review ........................................................................................................13 Vocabulary Development .........................................................................................13 Vocabulary Instruction with At-Risk Students .........................................................18 Literature Search Procedures ..............................................................................22 Specific Research Most Relevant to the Topic .........................................................23 The Rationale for this Study .....................................................................................29 3. Method ........................................................................................................................31 Research Design .......................................................................................................31 Participants and Setting.............................................................................................34 Materials ...................................................................................................................36 Data Sources .............................................................................................................40 Procedures .................................................................................................................42 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................45 Limitations of the Study............................................................................................46 4. Results .........................................................................................................................47 Student Performance ..................................................................................................47 Pretest Results ............................................................................................................48 Cumulative Posttest Scoring and Results ..................................................................50 Unit Test Scoring and Results....................................................................................54 Supplemental Analysis ...............................................................................................59 Satisfaction Surveys ...................................................................................................68 Scoring ................................................................................................................68 Results .................................................................................................................69 Open Ended Responses .......................................................................................76 Teacher Satisfaction Survey Results ...........................................................................88

vi 5. Discussion ...................................................................................................................92 Finding 1 .............................................................................................................92 Finding 2 .............................................................................................................97 Finding 3 .............................................................................................................99 Differences and Previous and Present Research ...........................................................102 Limitations ....................................................................................................................105 Educational Implications ..............................................................................................106 Implications for Practice and Future Research .............................................................107 Summary .......................................................................................................................108 Appendix A: Teacher Manual ......................................................................................109 Appendix B: Parent Consent Form ..............................................................................113 Appendix C: Teacher Consent Form ...........................................................................115 Appendix D: Student Assent Form ..............................................................................116 Appendix E: Observation Form Mnemonic .................................................................117 Appendix F: Observation Form Traditional ................................................................118 Appendix G: Sample Mnemonic Instructions for Teachers ........................................119 Appendix H: Sample Traditional Instructions for Teachers ........................................122 Appendix I: Teacher Survey ........................................................................................125 Appendix J: Student Survey Mnemonic ......................................................................127 Appendix K: Student Survey Mnemonic #2 ................................................................129 Appendix L: Student Survey Traditional .....................................................................131 Appendix M: Student Survey Traditional Week #2 ....................................................133 Appendix N: Week 1 Words Traditional .....................................................................135 Appendix O: Week 2 Words Traditional .....................................................................136 Appendix P: Week 3 Words Traditional ......................................................................137 Appendix Q: Week 4 Words Traditional .....................................................................138 Appendix R: Quiz Week 1 ...........................................................................................139 Appendix S: Quiz Week 2 ...........................................................................................141 Appendix T: Quiz Week 3 ..........................................................................................143 Appendix U: Quiz Week 4 ...........................................................................................145 Appendix V: Answer Key ............................................................................................147 Appendix W: Knowledge Survey Pretest ....................................................................149 Appendix X: Knowledge Survey Pretest Answer Key ................................................153 Appendix Y: Knowledge Vocabulary Posttest ............................................................155 Appendix Z: Knowledge Vocabulary Posttest Answer Key ........................................157 References .....................................................................................................................158

vii

LIST OF TABLES

Table Page 1. Overall pretest mean scores ........................................................................................51 2. Pretest scores by treatment order/student category .....................................................52 3. Cumulative Posttest Scores .........................................................................................53 4. Unit test scores by student category ............................................................................58 5. Unit test scores by item type .......................................................................................60 6. Grade Level Cumulative Posttest Scores by category ................................................62 7. Grade Level Unit test scores by category ...................................................................64 8. Grade Level Unit test scores by item type ..................................................................68 9. Student Opinions by condition (subject and study habits)..........................................71 10. Embedded strategy answers mnemonic condition ...................................................76 11. Student Opinion responses .......................................................................................80 12. All student opinion by condition ..............................................................................87 13. Embedded strategy questions – mnemonic condition ..............................................89

viii

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page 1. Sample mnemonic vocabulary word. ..........................................................................41 2. Cumulative Posttest mean scores by treatment condition ...........................................55 3. Unit test mean scores ..................................................................................................59 4. Cumulative posttest scores by grade level ..................................................................63 5. Unit test mean scores by grade level ...........................................................................66 6. Mnemonic vs. traditional instruction for recall factor ................................................69 7. Mnemonic vs. traditional instruction for application factor .......................................70 8. Student responses in mnemonic condition questions ..................................................73 9. Student responses in traditional condition questions ..................................................74 10. Survey question responses by student category ........................................................77 11. Responses for traditional condition: “like” ...............................................................81 12. Responses for mnemonic condition: “like” ..............................................................82 13. Responses for traditional condition: “dislike” ..........................................................83 14. Responses for mnemonic condition: “dislike” ..........................................................84

ABSTRACT

KEYWORD MNEMONIC STRATEGY: A STUDY OF SAT VOCABULARY IN HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH

Kristina Callihan DeWitt, Ph. D.

George Mason University, 2010

Dissertation Director: Dr. Margo A. Mastropieri

The purpose for this research study was to introduce and develop supplementary English material for SAT vocabulary instruction by providing memory-enhancing strategies for students with and without disabilities. Five inclusive English classrooms were assigned treatments in a within-subjects crossover design where all students received both treatment conditions – traditional instruction and mnemonic instruction. Memory- enhancing strategies are mnemonic devices that target specific vocabulary and provide additional practice using a visual representation to increase comprehension. Mnemonic devices assist students with encoding the new content information in order to make retrieval easier. Participants included 103 students in 10 th through 12 th grade, including 31 students with disabilities. Two general education teachers and two special education teachers participated in this study. Students received instruction in two units for four weeks and were pre and post tested on all vocabulary introduced. Students were given strategy use and satisfaction surveys. Attitudinal and satisfaction surveys were also given

to teachers. Overall findings revealed that students with disabilities performed significantly better on delayed cumulative posttest. Tenth grade students in the mnemonic condition performed descriptively higher on delayed cumulative posttest than eleventh and twelth graders. The majority of students responded that, compared to traditional instruction, they preferred and enjoyed the use of mnemonic strategies as well as learned how to generalize to their own learning preferences. Teacher attitudes varied but mostly favored mnemonic instruction. Findings are discussed with respect to differences from previous research, implications for practice, and future research.

1

CHAPTER 1 Introduction

All teachers, including those who teach students at-risk and students with disabilities, continue to look for ways to improve vocabulary instruction. As students progress in school, the complexity of word knowledge dramatically increases. By the time a student advances to the middle and high school grades vocabulary encountered comes from all different content areas: mathematics, science, music, physical education, technology, etc. The sheer volume of new vocabulary introduced can overwhelm students who struggle in school. Many students experience challenges acquiring new vocabulary. Students with learning disabilities have memory difficulties which impede their ability to learn new vocabulary, but also difficulty with new language acquisition. Beck and McKeown (1991) published figures that estimate children learn something like 2,500 to 3,000 year. Regardless of whether this range of estimates is exactly accurate, it is not paradoxical to imagine the limitations or inadequate development for some children. Nagy and Scott (2000) describe five aspects of the complexity of word knowledge as recognized by vocabulary researchers in the Handbook of Reading Research. First, learning new words is incremental – it’s not all or nothing. Second, vocabulary is multidimensional – word knowledge consists of several different types of knowledge. Third, it is polysemy – multiple meanings. Fourthly, knowledge of one word is

2 interrelated to other words, and finally, meanings of words have heterogeneity – what it means to know a word can differ depending on the kind of word. If students are to become active and independent vocabulary learners, some grasp of how complex word knowledge can be and some process of learning needs to be developed in their instruction. Vocabulary instruction must produce specific understanding and recognition of words not just a diet of roots, suffixes, and prefixes and definitions. Students with learning disabilities (LD) can benefit from specific strategies to learn vocabulary visually and contextually. One proven strategy is using the memory enhancing device of keyword mnemonics which are instrumental in assisting in factual recall tasks. Mnemonic strategies have been proven to be effective for students who are engaged in learning new words for concepts not just definitions. For example, if a student wished to learn the English translation of the Spanish word pato (duck), the first step would be to learn an acoustically similar word as the keyword such as pot. The second step requires the student to form an interactive image involving the keyword pot and a duck, such as an image of a duck with a pot on its head. The Spanish vocabulary word is now phonetically encoded (e.g. pot) and semantically encoded (e.g. duck) into the interactive visual image. Pot then becomes the means for remembering the meaning of the word pato. When the student is presented with the word pato, the image of a pot on the duck’s head triggers the memory of the desired response of duck (Levin, 1983). Factual knowledge and vocabulary instruction are important in content area classes at the secondary level (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1992) and on high stakes assessments such as Virginia’s Standards of Learning (Hess & Brigham, 2000; VDOE). Keyword

3 mnemonics has been shown to improve memory for new vocabulary and other content information of students with LD (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 2000). However, other approaches to teaching vocabulary also exist. For example, some researchers argue that mnemonics strategies do not support long term retention (Krinsky & Krinsky, 1994), while those with extensive research specifically in mnemonic strategies do because, “over and over again, they have been proven to be extremely effective in helping people remember things” (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 1998, p. 202). Stahl (1986) recommended giving “both context and definitions” in vocabulary instruction including synonyms, antonyms, prefixes, roots, suffixes, and classification (p.663). Accordingly, Baumann and Kame’enui (1991) stated, “three levels of word knowledge that can be used to consider depth in understanding and related instructional procedures: association, comprehension, and generation” (p. 201). While research literature to date has provided positive outcomes in the use of various vocabulary strategies to aid in all students learning, special populations show cause for alarm. Secondary students continue to be at-risk in academic settings. Students with disabilities face more challenges academically than their peers. In 2007, the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) reports 84% of all students passed the reading assessment, while only 75% of students with disabilities and 79% of limited English proficient students passed the assessment (VDOE, 2008). There are a number of reasons for lower performance levels for these groups of students. Many students classified as a student with a disability are categorized as learning disabled (LD). Students with learning disabilities typically struggle in the areas of memorization (O'Shannssey &

4 Swanson, 1998), reading deficits (Lerner, 2003), and improper use of and selection of strategies (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2007). Developing a general vocabulary knowledge is also important to English language learners (ELL). Likewise, this group of students also falls behind their peers in state assessments (VDOE, 2008). Statement of the Problem Students with LD have challenges with memory which contribute to lower vocabulary levels and comprehension problems. What is needed are ways to help students with LD and other students at risk for learning. Previous research has reported some helpful strategies and instructional approaches for improving vocabulary through personalizing word learning and active engagement of students in the learning process (Nagy & Scott, 2000). In the latest edition of Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension, Graves (1986) provided “convincing evidence that teaching vocabulary can increase comprehension of texts containing the words taught” (p. 61). His analysis described 14 intervention studies (eight of which positively identified vocabulary instruction's link to comprehension), whereas Graves included that comprehension from vocabulary instruction was evident when it was versatile, of extended duration, included multiple encounters with words, and involved semantic associations among words. Automaticity in lexical access to vocabulary was promoted (Miller & Faircloth, 2008). Wolgemuth and Cobb recently published a meta-analysis of effects in mnemonic interventions in Learning Disabilities Research (2008). They stated that “secondary students with disabilities are particularly at risk in academic settings” (p. 1). Secondary

5 students and teachers face challenges with the constraints of No Child Left Behind and standards based learning and assessment. These studies focus on the effectiveness of mnemonic instruction and particular ways of producing better outcomes. The gap in this meta-analysis, where this study hopes to gain insight to, is how this strategy can benefit secondary students in a language arts classroom, students with or without disabilities. Struggling students need strategic methods to assist in learning and retaining information. The focus on the vocabulary instruction in the language arts classroom, with emphasis on more developed words related to the state standards and the nationally recognized college entrance assessment SAT, was addressed in this study. Students with LD often struggle with memorization (Swanson, 1987). Everyday school tasks such as learning new vocabulary can be overwhelming. These students lack practical skills in mastery of material outlined by district curriculum. Devising a strong vocabulary positively relates to other tasks, including listening comprehension, reading, and general oratory (Polloway, Smith, & Miller, 2003). High Stakes Testing New level of accountability measures began with the passing of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on January 8, 2002. NCLB requires states to create standardized assessments for all students in all content areas – reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science. At the high school level, students must pass these standards in order to graduate. Teachers need to use active strategies to help all students at all levels pass these standards. In Virginia, the standards include two high school assessments in English – one test for reading and another for writing. Clearly, an interest in best

6 practices for teachers responsible for the academic achievement of students under these mandates need assistance. Students with disabilities lack the skills to perform well on high-stakes tests (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2001). These problems consist of reading and writing, cognition, memory, and organization and problem solving (Hallahan & Kauffman, 2006; Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2007). Research has demonstrated that poor readers show deficiencies in relation to vocabulary knowledge and learning. Baker, Simmons, and Kameenui (1995b) argued most interventions have proved success in some settings as no one method of instruction proved better than another. Vocabulary is an area of difficulty for many students with learning disabilities. Therefore, vocabulary knowledge of diverse learners needs to be addressed strategically and comprehensively if debilitating educational effects are to be avoided (Kameenui & Carnine, 1998, p. 34). My Experience with the Problem As a high school teacher with many years experience working with students with and without disabilities in the English classroom, there have been students every year that struggle with reading because of their lack of vocabulary development. Words are shared, taught, and reviewed but retention exists only in a rote memorization drill and retrieval manner. Educators, including myself, need to better equip students with strategic explicit practices to learn and use vocabulary that will aid in better understanding of reading materials, reading comprehension, and future word knowledge and associations.

7 Many teachers ask special educators how to provide a tool kit for students at all levels to use. A resource with strategies students will enjoy, utilize, and recognize. If the student finds no enjoyment or usefulness in a given strategy, the memorization of it will soon fade away. Teachers in high school English generally have the opportunity to formulate student’s perception of reading into their college and professional years. By expanding their vocabulary with more difficult, sometimes more precise vocabulary, students may enter college and adult life better equipped to understand the most basic situations – a Presidential debate, a college professor, a media presentation, or a character in a movie such as Captain Jake Sparrow “Well Mr. Turner, I've changed my mind. If you spring me from this cell, I swear on pain of death, I shall take you to the Black Pearl and your bonnie lass. Do we have an accord?” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0325980/quotes) The issue of focus here is whether or not mnemonics (memory enhancing strategies) will help students systematically learn, apply and expand the use of vocabulary, additionally how learning these strategies impact the student’s diction and memory of new material. The problem encountered in my classrooms is twofold: first teachers introduce new vocabulary quickly and independently of other reading or writing assignments. Secondly, students tend to memorize the vocabulary without understanding how to apply the new words, new forms of the words, or how to use in their own writing. When strategically placing new vocabulary with a visual component benefits exist for both teachers and students. Teachers are able to introduce more words in a shorter period of time and students increase the use of the words and general

8 comprehension of how the words are used. The goal is to increase overall comprehension and strategy implementation. The inclusion of specific vocabulary instruction is important in the high school classroom. Although the focus was on frequently used SAT vocabulary, the strategic concept through memory enhancing strategies is not specific to any one content area, nor is it exclusively applicable to older students. Keyword mnemonics may significantly benefit struggling readers of all ages, and incorporating them into daily classroom instruction will help increase vocabulary, comprehension, and diction in writing. In reviewing the literature on struggling readers, little research has been found specifically addressing older students; much of the research is seen at the beginning reading stages. Vocabulary instruction is key to better comprehension for all students, but direct and systematic instruction is especially essential for students at risk, with a know disability, and those learning English as a second language. This study intended to accomplish a better understanding of how to incorporate the keyword mnemonic strategy into the classroom. There are many things this study can address about memory enhancing strategies. First how the teachers will perceive the strategy and its usefulness at the high school level. The program used contained cartoon pictures that connected to keyword and vocabulary word. While the vocabulary was pertinent to older students, the visual component was simplistic. The second item of concern was what the students might think, how they view learning vocabulary, and why they believe they continue to struggle with vocabulary and

9 comprehension in high school. Is there some connection between vocabulary and comprehension that keeps them from increasing their basic reading and writing skills? The use of mnemonic devices has been used in my own classroom but student perceptions were not addressed during instruction. Students with disabilities are many times cognizant of how difficult learning in the traditional classroom can be for them. Whether not they actually use these strategies in other classes is unknown. Significance of the Problem Teachers need to be aware of the most effective means of educating children. Changes in the requirements and accountableness of educators in the proliferation of high stakes testing require changes in business-as-usual in the classroom. The purpose for this research project was to develop, and obtain evidence of potential efficacy of, supplementary English/literature material providing mnemonic (memory-enhancing) strategies, for students with and without a disability in tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade English classrooms. Memory-enhancing strategies are mnemonic devices that target specific vocabulary and provide additional practice using a visual representation to increase comprehension with teacher selected SAT vocabulary words. These materials, as they are developed, were implemented in the English inclusion classroom. A study design was implemented, to compare the performance on pre- and post- authentic literature tests of the student who will participate in the implementation or comparison condition. The students will receive the mnemonic condition and participate in the activities related to the visual materials used. The aim of the research project is to teach mnemonic strategies and evaluate whether further research is appropriate. Throughout

10 this investigation, my goal was to gain a deeper understanding of the best practices for struggling learners and students perception of the usefulness and retention of the new vocabulary. This study was useful to understanding what supports or hinders students’ ability to learn new vocabulary with application in their classrooms, and state and national testing. Research Questions A within-subjects crossover design incorporating a two-condition intervention (experimental and control conditions) and a follow up survey of the students were used in this study within five high school English classrooms. The specific research questions that will guide the study are: 1. How does teaching SAT vocabulary with or without the use of mnemonics impact learning on: a. All Students in secondary inclusive English classes b. Students with disabilities 2. What are the perceptions and strategic learning of students from both conditions of instruction? 3. Is there a significant difference between student achievement for students with and without disabilities? 4. What benefits do students discover when taught vocabulary instruction using a keyword strategy? 5. What benefits do teachers discover when teaching vocabulary with the keyword mnemonic strategy?

11 Definition of Key Terms English Term given to high school language arts classroom. ESL English as a second language General Education Teacher A teacher certified to teach by the state either as a generalist or in a content area. Inclusive Classrooms Classrooms that have students with disabilities and regular education students in one classroom. Item Type Questions taught either with mnemonic cards (embedded strategies) or traditional methods (non embedded strategies) Mnemonics A memory an instructional strategy that connects new information with prior knowledge by means of visual and acoustic clues (Mastropieri, Sweda, and Scruggs 2000). SOL (Standards of Learning) The curriculum standards teachers must follow Special Education Teacher A teacher certified by the state to teach students with disabilities.

12 Team taught classes A class consisting of a general education teacher and a special education teacher.

13

CHAPTER 2 Literature Review

The current chapter describes the literature review. This description includes a presentation of topics including: (a) vocabulary development, (b) vocabulary instruction with at-risk populations, (c) the search procedures followed by specific research most relevant to keyword mnemonic strategies, and (d) the rational for the study. Vocabulary Development What format for vocabulary learning should teachers consider? Should words be introduced prior to reading a selection or is it conducive to discuss vocabulary as it is actually encountered in the reading? (Robinson, 2005). These questions are but a few teachers and researchers ask when addressing vocabulary instruction. As early as 1907, Professor E.A. Kirkpatrick began tallying the number of words a typical student knew. Thirty years later Edward Dolch (1936) developed his famous list of 220 sight words. And recently, the researchers Blachowicz and Fisher (2000, 2001, 2004) looked at vocabulary lessons and stated, Developing a strong vocabulary not only promotes reading comprehension but also enables us to actively participate in our society. People often consider a strong vocabulary the hallmark of an educated person. Pick up any in-flight magazine and you will find articles and ads selling programs and books that promise to help you ‘increase your vocabulary’ and ‘learn to speak like a CEO’,

14 reinforcing the importance of vocabulary in preparing students to enter the world of work (p. 66). Teachers of all grades continue to look for ways to improve vocabulary instruction. A faltering picture is the role of the school and teacher in the development of vocabulary knowledge (Robinson, 2005). Along with instructional practices comes a students’ need for continued vocabulary development. Nagy and Herman (1985) believed by increasing the amount of time a child spends reading, the child has the opportunity to increase the number of independent words learned. How do students develop these vocabularies that are introduced? Basic Sight Word Vocabulary Researchers have studied the number of words a person should know. These include basic sight word vocabulary and different methods of determining which words rank as important. According to Kirkpatrick (1907), the average number of words for normal high school students were 19,000 words and college students 20,120 words. The breadth of this relationship was discovered by students counting all the words on every fifteenth page in an abridged dictionary (Kirkpatrick, 1907). Students placed + signs by the words they knew and – signs by the ones they did not. In comparison the Dolch (1936) word list was derived from the comparison of essential words from the Child Study Committee of the International Kindergarten Union (1928), Gates List (1926), and Wheeler and Howell (1930). According to Dolch (1936), 65% of all the words in primary grades reading material are included in his famous list of 220 words. It should be noted, however, that most basic sight words did not include

15 nouns. Dolch (1936) considered the universality of nouns to be insignificant based on their variability in settings. Anytime a new subject was introduced, new nouns naturally appeared. While Kirkpatrick (1907) and Dolch (1936) both studied the need for a basic list of words needed for students, neither claimed their methodology was flawless. Dolch (1936) did take into account specific words used by primary children and from the three sources used in his study, Child Study Committee of the International Kindergarten Union (1928), Gates List (1926), and Wheeler and Howell (1930) gave a compilation of what he called “tool” words that all children should know and use in writing, no matter what the subject. Kirkpatrick (1907) did not identify a specific list of words. Children in intermediate grades also struggled with sight word vocabulary. Dolch commented, “perhaps one reason that many children in the intermediate grades do not know by sight the words on this basic list is that the emphasis on sight teaching has been on nouns instead of on these ‘tool’ words”. Nouns cannot be of universal use because a noun is tied to special subject matter (Dolch, 1936). Accordingly, when a child in any grade was found to be limited in sight word vocabulary, he would be tested and trained to recognize basic words. Dolch (1936) recommended practices such as the use of flash cards and repetitive practice of the sight words for such training. Kirkpatrick (1907) specifically studied the number of words a student knew and did not make student recommendations. To summarize the studies of Kirkpatrick (1907) and Dolch (1936), the assumption was made that children needed an essential list of basic words in order for reading growth

16 to occur. No particular word list was inclusive of all the basic words, and methods of determining the basic words were different depending on the study. Approximation in the number of words varied in the studies, from thousands of words to a basic list of 220 words. According to Kirkpatrick (1907), the best lists were obtained by Webster’s academic dictionary. Dolch (1936) did not claim that the list of 220 basic sight words was a comprehensive list for all elementary school pupils, but stated that the words should at least be known. Increasing Reading Vocabulary In order for a student’s reading vocabulary to grow, students need to read. Teaching individual word meanings, sight word vocabulary, and/or resources from a textbook may not be enough. Nagy and Herman (1985) stated that reading vocabulary grows at the rate of 3,000 words per school year between grades three and twelve for the average student. Focus on the possible contribution to vocabulary growth, to a large extent the only thing under the teacher’s control, is reading. According to Kirkpatrick (1907), students who were able to name more books and magazines showed a larger vocabulary. Concerned with the effectiveness of vocabulary growth, Nagy and Herman (1985) then addressed different approaches to vocabulary instruction. The two main areas studied were the size of the student’s vocabulary and increasing a student’s ability to comprehend text (Robinson, 2005). Simply memorizing words from a list did not ensure that students understood the meanings of vocabulary words. Educators and parents need

17 to recognize the importance of vocabulary instruction. Developing a strong reading vocabulary promotes reading comprehension (Blachowiez & Fisher, 2004). Biemiller (2001) stated a young students reading vocabulary usually runs about two years behind his or her oral vocabulary. Since oral language is significant to the early development of language, a strong base should be formed early on (Sticht & James, 1984). Exposure to books and other reading materials is critical to vocabulary development during the schooling years (Nagy & Herman, 1987). There are many reasons for teach reading vocabulary besides the fact that it increases the size of the vocabulary. Text is better understood when children know more words (Robinson, 2005). Nagy and Herman (1985) argued that learning a word from written context should not be underestimated even if it means the only information gained is relatively small. The one time encounter of a word, knowing only one meaning of the word, may not constitute very deep word knowledge. However, it may provide a foundation for learning new exposures to a word in the future. Blachowiez and Fisher (2004) on the other hand stated important developments in vocabulary instruction can be found in development of word awareness, the love of words through word play, rich instruction, independent reading, and availability of a wide range of books. In summary, scholars agree that vocabulary development is necessary to successful reading practices. The number of appropriate words and at rate the words are taught depending on other developmental factors. Vocabulary growth needs to continue into the upper grades to support more difficult text and adaptability to differ types of reading materials.

Full document contains 182 pages
Abstract: The purpose for this research study was to introduce and develop supplementary English material for SAT vocabulary instruction by providing memory-enhancing strategies for students with and without disabilities. Five inclusive English classrooms were assigned treatments in a within-subjects crossover design where all students received both treatment conditions--traditional instruction and mnemonic instruction. Memory-enhancing strategies are mnemonic devices that target specific vocabulary and provide additional practice using a visual representation to increase comprehension. Mnemonic devices assist students with encoding the new content information in order to make retrieval easier. Participants included 103 students in 10 th through 12th grade, including 31 students with disabilities. Two general education teachers and two special education teachers participated in this study. Students received instruction in two units for four weeks and were pre and post tested on all vocabulary introduced. Students were given strategy use and satisfaction surveys. Attitudinal and satisfaction surveys were also given to teachers. Overall findings revealed that students with disabilities performed significantly better on delayed cumulative posttest. Tenth grade students in the mnemonic condition performed descriptively higher on delayed cumulative posttest than eleventh and twelfth graders. The majority of students responded that, compared to traditional instruction, they preferred and enjoyed the use of mnemonic strategies as well as learned how to generalize to their own learning preferences. Teacher attitudes varied but mostly favored mnemonic instruction. Findings are discussed with respect to differences from previous research, implications for practice, and future research.