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IES Grant

Title: Project VITAL: Vocabulary Intervention Targeting At-risk Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2003
Principal Investigator: Coyne, Michael Awardee: University of Connecticut
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $685,623
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305G030250

Purpose: At the time of this study, research indicated that vocabulary knowledge played an important role in the reading process and reading comprehension, but little was known about how to teach vocabulary effectively. Further, the evidence showed that a gap in vocabulary knowledge emerged between at-risk students and their peers before they enter kindergarten and grew larger in the early grades. In this project, the researchers proposed to develop and evaluate strategies designed to improve vocabulary to urban first grade students at risk of experiencing reading difficulties.

Structured Abstract


Research Design and Methods: In phase 1of this three-phase project, the researchers are performing experiments to develop, field-test, and refine vocabulary instructional strategies with small groups of students. In phase 2, they are evaluating the efficacy of those vocabulary instructional strategies by comparing student learning in first grade classrooms randomly assigned to use either explicit vocabulary instruction inserted into storybook reading activities or traditional storybook reading activities. In phase 3, the researchers are repeating the second phase study in a wider range of diverse classroom settings. The research team is also training classroom teachers from urban schools serving a high percentage of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds to implement the vocabulary intervention strategies. The project is designed to test the feasibility of having classroom teachers implement and sustain the use of effective vocabulary instruction under real conditions.

Related IES Projects: Project IVI: Intensifying Vocabulary Intervention for Kindergarten Students at Risk of Learning Disabilities (R324L060026) and Project Early Vocabulary Intervention (R324A110135)

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

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Journal articles

Coyne, M.D., Mccoach, B., and Kapp, S. (2007). Vocabulary Intervention for Kindergarten Students: Comparing Extended Instruction to Embedded Instruction and Incidental Exposure. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 30(2): 74–88.

Crevecoeur, Y., Coyne, M.D., and McCoach, D.B. (2014). English-Language Learners and English-Only Learners' Response to Direct Vocabulary Instruction. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 30(1): 51–78.

Zipoli, R., Coyne, M.D.,and McCoach, D.B. (2011). Enhancing Vocabulary Intervention for Kindergarten Students: Strategic Integration of Semantically Related and Embedded Word Review. Remedial and Special Education, 32(2): 131–143.