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IES Grant

Title: An Efficacy Trial of Robust Vocabulary Instruction
Center: NCER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Apthorp, Helen Awardee: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $2,284,149
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A080627
Description:

Purpose: Poverty increases risk for impoverished vocabulary and poor achievement. Economically advantaged preschoolers in the U.S. typically are exposed to a broader range of vocabulary than are economically disadvantaged preschoolers. A smaller vocabulary limits a child's ability to recognize single words during reading instruction. Moreover, young children who struggle with reading do not increase their vocabularies during independent reading. The purpose of this project is to provide unbiased estimates of the effects of robust, aural/oral vocabulary instruction as provided in Elements of Reading (EOR): Vocabulary on vocabulary and reading comprehension in schools serving children from low-income households.

Project Activities: The EOR program is designed to supplement a core reading program, using 15- to 20-minute daily lessons in kindergarten and first through fifth grade classrooms. The program targets common vocabulary words and all lesson materials and lesson plans support instruction and practice in an aural/oral format. EOR: Vocabulary uses read-aloud literature, explicit, systematic instruction, and engaging activities that prompt thinking about and use of new words throughout the day, week, and year, during and beyond the language arts period, and in and out of the classroom. The project includes two studies that will use a cluster randomized trial design in which schools are the unit of assignment. Schools will be randomly assigned to either Primary or Intermediate Intervention. In the Primary Intervention schools, the primary grades are the treatment group and the intermediate grades are the control group. In the Intermediate Intervention schools, the reverse is the case with the primary grades as the control group and the intermediate grades as the treatment group.

Products: The expected outcomes of this research include published reports on the efficacy of the Elements of Reading (EOR): Vocabulary on vocabulary knowledge and the listening/reading comprehension of children from low-income households.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The settings are rural and mid-size city school districts in Florida.

Population: Participants include approximately 17,280 students and 864 teachers from approximately 48 high-poverty elementary schools (40% or higher eligible for free/reduced price lunch rates). All enrolled students are eligible to participate. All teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade will participate.

Intervention: EOR: Vocabulary is an aural/oral, interactive instructional vocabulary program designed to supplement elementary grade reading programs. EOR: Vocabulary selects and teaches sophisticated words with definitional and contextual information and activities that engage deep and active processing of new word meanings and use. Teachers will implement EOR: Vocabulary using the five-day, weekly lesson plans and materials provided in the EOR: Vocabulary teacher's guide and classroom kit. As implemented, this treatment condition is characterized by daily 15- to 20-minute lessons that progress in a five-day sequence from read-alouds, to viewing photo cards, to increasingly challenging discussion and activity prompts, to a weekly quiz. A new set of seven sophisticated, unfamiliar Tier 2 words are taught in each of the 24 EOR: Vocabulary weekly lessons.

Research Design and Methods: This project will use a cluster randomized trial design in which schools are the unit of assignment. Schools will be randomly assigned to either Primary or Intermediate Intervention. In the Primary Intervention schools, the primary grades are the treatment group and the intermediate grades are the control group. In the Intermediate Intervention schools, the reverse is the case with the primary grades serving as the control group and the intermediate grades as the treatment group. Orthogonal to this group assignment are two studies: Study 1 (Primary Grades) and Study 2 (Intermediate Grades).

Control Condition: Control group teachers will continue their business-as-usual vocabulary instruction.

Key Measures: To measure vocabulary and listening/reading comprehension, the following will be used: a test of instructed word knowledge, tests of listening and reading comprehension with instructed words, and the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th Edition (including the SAT-10 Listening Vocabulary and Listening Comprehension subtests, and the SAT-10 Reading Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension subtests).

Data Analytic Strategy: Hierarchical linear modeling will be used. This analysis plan applies to both studies: Study 1 (Primary Grades) and Study 2 (Intermediate Grades). Data analyses will also be conducted to examine fidelity of implementation and to examine potential moderators and mechanisms of the intervention.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Apthorp, H., Randel, B., Cherasaro, T., Clark, T., McKeown, M. and Beck, I. (2012). Effects of a Supplemental Vocabulary Program on Word Knowledge and Passage Comprehension. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 5 (2), 160–188.


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