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IES Grant

Title: Project IVI: Intensifying Vocabulary Intervention for Kindergarten Students at Risk of Learning Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2006
Principal Investigator: Coyne, Michael Awardee: University of Connecticut
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language Development      [Program Details]
Award Period: 8/1/2006 to 7/31/2009 Award Amount: $884,306
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324L060026
Description:

Purpose: The purpose of Project IVI is to develop, refine, and evaluate vocabulary intervention strategies for kindergarten students at significant risk of learning disabilities. The research team will draw on validated principles of instructional design and delivery to intensify vocabulary instruction and to optimize its effectiveness with kindergarten students most at risk of learning disabilities.

Project Activities: In Year 01, the researchers will conduct a series of experiments in which vocabulary intervention strategies will be designed and field-tested in collaboration with teacher-researchers within an ongoing, formative feedback loop. In Year 02, the intervention will be refined by conducting a series of small-scale, but carefully controlled, experimental studies to determine which instructional components contribute most to student vocabulary learning. A within-subjects methodology will be used to allow for the manipulation of key instructional variables and to isolate effects while controlling threats to internal validity. In Year 03, the researchers will conduct a randomized field trial with a sample of approximately 144 kindergarten students at risk of learning disabilities that will rigorously evaluate the initial efficacy of the vocabulary intervention. The students will be randomly assigned to one of two small group intervention conditions: 1) an intensive vocabulary intervention, or 2) traditional storybook reading activities. Outcomes will be assessed using a combination of descriptive (Year 01), analysis of variance (Year 02), and multilevel modeling techniques (Year 03) to examine the differential effects of the intervention on a wide range of language, vocabulary, and comprehension measures as well as factors that moderate impact.

Products: The expected outcomes from this study include:

  1. A vocabulary instruction intervention for use in kindergarten classrooms,
  2. Published reports on the differing effects of this intervention on a multitude of language, vocabulary, and comprehension measures, and
  3. Presentations on the implementation of these intervention strategies.

Setting: The elementary schools are drawn from three diverse districts in Connecticut.

Population: Approximately 252 kindergarten students from 24 classrooms in 12 schools will participate over the course of the study. Students are drawn from schools with high concentrations of children from low-income backgrounds in both urban and suburban settings. In addition, these schools serve a large percentage of students from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds. Many students will be at-risk for learning disabilities.

Intervention: The intervention in Project IVI will use the Tri-level Approach to Vocabulary Instruction. The purpose of this approach is to support both breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge in a time efficient manner. The Tri-level Approach is characterized by (1) reading storybooks to children that contain varied and complex vocabulary, (2) providing basic instruction on a set of selected target words by offering "in-flight" definitions within the context of the story, and (3) providing rich instruction on a second set of target words through extended interactive activities following story reading. In addition, during the development of Project IVI, considerable attention will be given to three instructional principles supported by a large body of converging intervention research: conspicuous instruction, instructional scaffolding, and opportunities for practice with high quality feedback.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 01, the researchers will conduct a series of experiments in which vocabulary intervention strategies will be designed and field-tested in collaboration with teacher-researchers within an ongoing, formative feedback loop. In Year 02, the intervention will be refined by conducting a series of small-scale, but carefully controlled, experimental studies to determine which instructional components contribute most to student vocabulary learning. A within-subjects methodology will be used to allow for the manipulation of key instructional variables and to isolate effects while controlling threats to internal validity. In Year 03, the researchers will conduct a randomized field trial with a sample of approximately 144 kindergarten students at risk of learning disabilities that will rigorously evaluate the initial efficacy of the vocabulary intervention. The students will be randomly assigned to one of two small group intervention conditions: 1) an intensive vocabulary intervention, or 2) traditional storybook reading activities. Outcomes will be assessed using a combination of descriptive (Year 01), analysis of variance (Year 02), and multilevel modeling techniques (Year 03) to examine the differential effects of the intervention on a wide range of language, vocabulary, and comprehension measures as well as factors that moderate impact.

Control Condition: The control condition consists of traditional storybook reading activities reflective of general kindergarten reading curriculum.

Key Measures: Three types of measures will be used for data collection during the evaluation phase of the study: (a) student vocabulary and literacy achievement, (b) fidelity of implementation, and (c) demographic and contextual characteristics.

Student vocabulary and literacy achievement measures will include a combination of standardized assessments and researcher-developed assessments. All standardized assessments are psychometrically sound in terms of construct validity and reliability for use with kindergarten students. All researcher-developed measures were developed and piloted during previous IES funded research. Achievement assessments will measure a range of vocabulary, comprehension, language, and pre-reading skills.

Student vocabulary and literacy achievement measures include the following: (a) Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III; (b) Test of Oral Language Development-Primary: Third Edition; (c) Gates-MacGinities, Listening Comprehension Subtest; (d) Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing; (e) DIBELS Letter Naming Fluency & Initial Sounds Fluency; (f) Expressive Measure of Target Word Definitions; (g) Receptive Measure of Understanding Target Words in Context; (h) Expressive & Receptive Picture Vocabulary Measures of Target Words; (i) Word Use Fluency (Revised); and (j) Strong Narrative Assessment Procedure.

Measures of implementation of fidelity include attendance, dosage, and progress logs. In addition, the Levels of Use (LoU) interview system will be used with interventionists at the beginning of each year of implementation. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire will be used in conjunction with the LoU interviews to identify concerns interventionists experience during implementation.

Finally, contextual and demographic variables of interventionists and student participants will be collected. Contextual variables include core reading program, group structures, special services provided, and time allocated for reading instruction. Demographic variables include language status (i.e., ELL), race, ethnicity, gender, and disability status.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data will be analyzed using multi-level modeling techniques. To examine the effects of intervention, a series of multi-level analyses where students are randomized within classes will be conducted. Covariates such as gender and initial performance scores will be included. Cross-level interactions between student-level variables and classroom-level variables will be examined.

This research team has received a related award to examine ways to improve the vocabulary knowledge of kindergarten children most at risk for learning disabilities. More information about the new project can be found at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/grant.asp?ProgID=18&year=2003&grantid=198.

Publications from this project:

Coyne, M. D., Capozzoli, A., Ware, S., & Loftus, S. (2010) Beyond RTI for decoding: supporting early vocabulary development within a multitier approach to instruction and intervention. Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 18–21.

Coyne, M. D., McCoach, D. B., Loftus, S., Zipoli, R., Ruby, M., Crevecoeur, Y. & Kapp, S. (2010). Direct and extended vocabulary instruction in kindergarten: Investigating transfer effects. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3 (2), 93–120. doi:10.1080/19345741003592410.

Loftus, S., Coyne, M. D., McCoach, D. B., Zipoli, R., Kapp, S, & Pullen, P. (2010). Effects of a supplemental vocabulary intervention on the word knowledge of kindergarten students at-risk for language and literacy difficulties. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 25, 124–136. doi: 10.1111/j.1540–5826.2010.00310.x.

Maynard, K. L., & Pullen, P. C., & Coyne, M. (2010). Teaching vocabulary to first-grade students through repeated shared storybook reading: A comparison of rich and basic instruction to incidental exposure. Literacy Research and Instruction, 49,209–242. doi:10.1080/19388070902943245.

Pullen, P. C., Tuckwiller, E. D., Maynard, K., Konold, T. R., & Coyne, M. (2010). A response to intervention model for vocabulary instruction: The effects of tiered instruction for students at risk for reading disability. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 25, 110–122.

Tuckwiller, E.D., Pullen, P.C., & Coyne, M. (2010). The use of the Regression Discontinuity Design in tiered intervention research: A pilot study exploring vocabulary instruction for at-risk kindergarteners. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 25 (3), 137–150. doi: 10.1111/j.1540–5826.2010.00311.x.  

Zipoli, R., Coyne, M. D., & 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. doi: 10.1177/0741932510361262.

Coyne, M. D., Capozzoli-Oldham, A., & Simmons, D. C. (2012). Vocabulary instruction for young children at-risk of experiencing reading difficulties: Teaching word meanings during shared storybook readings. In J. F. Baumann & E. J. Kame'enui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Loftus, S., & Coyne, M. D. (2013). Vocabulary instruction within a multi-tier approach. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 29, 4–19.

Crevecoeur, Y., Coyne, M. D., & McCoach, D. B. (2014). English-language learners and English-only learners' response to direct vocabulary instruction. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 30, 51–78.

Cuticelli, M., Coyne, M. D., Ware, S. M., Oldham, A., & Loftus-Rattan, S. (in press) Improving vocabulary skills of kindergarten students through a multi-tier instructional approach. Intervention in School and Clinic.


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