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IES Grant

Title: Development of a Multifaceted, Comprehensive Vocabulary Instructional Program for the Upper Elementary Grades
Center: NCER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Baumann, James Awardee: University of Missouri, Columbia
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,779,368
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A100994

Previous Award Number: R305A090163
Previous Awardee: University of Wyoming

Co-Principal Investigators: Patrick Manyak (University of Wyoming) and Camille Blachowicz (National Louis University)

Purpose: The National Reading Panel Report of 2000 concluded that vocabulary is a critical component of reading comprehension; however, the process of implementing effective vocabulary instruction in authentic classroom settings is less well understood. In particular, teachers need a comprehensive, explicit, and practical approach for instructing all of their students, including English language learners, on vocabulary knowledge. This is particularly important in the upper elementary grades when content-area reading is a high priority. In this project, the researchers will develop, refine, and test the feasibility of a comprehensive, multifaceted vocabulary instructional program for students in the fourth and fifth grades. The instructional program will be based on Michael Graves’ (2006) four-component vocabulary program, which includes (1) rich and varied language experiences, (2) teaching individual words, (3) teaching word-learning strategies, and (4) promoting word consciousness (e.g., metalinguistic awareness).

Project Activities: The researchers will use a formative experiment to develop, revise, and pilot test a comprehensive, multifaceted vocabulary instructional program for upper elementary grade students, including English language learners.

Products: The products of this project will be a fully developed vocabulary instructional program for children in the fourth and fifth grades, including English language learners, and published reports.


Setting: Participating schools are located in Illinois and Colorado.

Population: Study participants will be fourth- and fifth-grade students and their teachers.

Intervention: A comprehensive, multifaceted, long-term vocabulary instructional program that incorporates Michael Graves’ (2006) four components—rich and varied language experiences, explicit instruction of individual words, explicit instruction of word-learning strategies, and promotion of word consciousness—will be developed. The program is intended to be implemented as part of regular classroom instruction for children in the fourth and fifth grades, including English language learners.

Research Design and Methods: The vocabulary instructional program will be developed using a formative experimental approach to systematically test and modify the four key vocabulary instructional practices. In each of the three years of the project, the instructional components will be developed, tested for feasibility, and revised accordingly.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Quantitative measures include researcher-developed measures of general and specific vocabulary knowledge, morphemic analysis skills, contextual analysis skills, and word consciousness skills. Qualitative measures include observations of lesson fidelity and lesson pedagogy, as well as teacher interviews.

Data Analytic Strategy: Vocabulary assessments will be administered twice during each year of the project, and changes from the beginning to the end of each year will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and single-subject visual analyses. Observation and interview data will be analyzed to assess fidelity of instruction provided by teachers, characteristics of the vocabulary activities taking place within the classroom (such as duration or nature of student participation), as well as teachers’ reflections on and suggestions for the vocabulary program.



Blachowicz, C., Ogle, D., Fisher, P., and Taffe, S.W. (2013). Teaching Academic Vocabulary K-8: Effective Practices Across The Curriculum. Guilford Press.

Book chapter

Baumann, J.F., Edwards, E.,C.  and Font, G. (2012). Teaching Word-Learning Strategies. In E.J. Kame'enui and J.F. Baumann (Eds.), Vocabulary Instruction: Research to Practice, (pp. 139–168). New York: The Guilford Press.

Blachowicz, C.L., and Baumann, J.F. (2012). Language Standards for Vocabulary. In L.M. Morrow, K.K. Wixson, and T. Shanahan (Eds.), Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, Grades 3–5, 131–153. New York: The Guilford Press.

Blachowicz, C.L.Z.  and Fisher, P. (2012). Keep the “Fun” in Fundamental. In E.J. Kame'enui and J.F. Baumann (Eds.), Vocabulary Instruction: Research to Practice, (pp. 189–209). New York: The Guilford Press.

Blachowicz, C.L., Manyak, P.C., Baumann, J.F., and Graves, M.F. (2017). “FLOOD, FAST, FOCUS”: Integrated Vocabulary Instruction in the Classroom. In K. Wood, J. Paratore, B. Kissel, and R. McCormack (Eds.), What's New in Literacy Teaching?: Weaving Together Time-Honored Practices with New Research (pp. . New York: Teachers College Press.

Fisher, P.J., Bates, A., Gurvitz, D., and Blachowicz, C.L. (2013). Vocabulary Instruction: Struggling Readers Becoming Word Wizards. In E. Ortlieb and E.H. Cheek (Eds.), School-Based Interventions for Struggling Readers, K-8 (pp. 165–182). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Graves, M.F. (2015). Building a Vocabulary Program that Really Could make a Significant Contribution to Students Becoming College and Career ready. In P.D. Pearson and E.H. Hiebert (Eds.), Research-Based Practices for Teaching Common Core Literacy, 123–144. New York: Teachers College Press.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Graves, M.F., Baumann, J.F., Blachowicz, C.L., Manyak, P., Bates, A., Cieply, C., ... and Von Gunten, H. (2014). Words, Words Everywhere, but Which Ones do we Teach?. The Reading Teacher, 67(5), 333–346.

Manyak, P.C., Baumann, J.F., and Manyak, A.M. (2018). Morphological Analysis Instruction in the Elementary Grades: Which Morphemes to Teach and How to Teach Them. The Reading Teacher.