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IES Grant

Title: Investigating Vocabulary Breadth and Depth and Comprehension in English Monolingual and Spanish-English Bilingual Elementary School Students
Center: NCER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Silverman, Rebecca Awardee: University of Maryland, College Park
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,400,000
Goal: Exploration Award Number: R305A090152
Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Patrick Proctor, Boston College, and Jeffrey Harring, University of Maryland

Purpose: Vocabulary knowledge is critical to effective reading comprehension. Most research to date has focused on the importance of vocabulary breadth (the quantity of known words) and its relationship to reading comprehension. Vocabulary depth (the quality of vocabulary knowledge), including morphological, semantic, and syntactical awareness, may be equally important to reading comprehension but there is limited research in this area. Explicit vocabulary instruction has the potential to increase both vocabulary breadth and depth and, as a result, improve reading comprehension for all students. Vocabulary instruction for students who are English language learners, given the hurdles they face in terms of academic English in the later elementary grades, may be particularly effective for enhancing their comprehension skills. In this study, the researchers will investigate the development of vocabulary breadth and depth, their relationship to the development of reading comprehension, and instructional factors related to the development of both vocabulary and comprehension, in a sample of monolingual English and bilingual Spanish-English students in 2nd through 5th grade.

Project Activities: The researchers will conduct a longitudinal study of the development of vocabulary breadth and depth and reading comprehension from 2nd through 5th grade for monolingual English and bilingual Spanish-English children. Through classroom observations, the researchers will identify promising instructional practices for improving vocabulary breadth and depth in support of reading comprehension for these two groups of students.

Products: The products from this project include published reports on the development of vocabulary breadth and depth for monolingual English and bilingual Spanish-English students from 2nd through 5th grade and the relationship of vocabulary breadth and depth to the development of reading comprehension for these students, as well as identification of instructional practices that may support the development of vocabulary and comprehension in the upper elementary grades, and published reports.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Three elementary schools, two in Maryland and one in Massachusetts.

Population: Study participants are 210 students, 105 monolingual English children and 105 bilingual Spanish-English children, in 2nd through 5th grade and their teachers. The participants come from schools that have recently focused efforts on improving vocabulary instruction and reading comprehension in school districts with fast-growing Latino populations.

Intervention: In this study, the researchers are examining instructional practices related to vocabulary development (both breadth and depth) in 2nd through 5th grade classrooms to identify possible targets for intervention at the instructional level.

Research Design and Methods: A cohort-sequential design will be used to create a model of vocabulary and comprehension development from 2nd through 5th grade. A subgroup of students (n = 80) will be observed in the classroom at four separate time points to document individual exposure to vocabulary instruction.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Key measures include the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, 4th Edition (SDRT-4), both the English and Spanish versions of the Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey-Revised (WMLS-R), the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL), both the English and Spanish versions of the Extract the Base test, a researcher-designed Semantic Relations test, and the Aprenda: La prueba de logros en espanol, Tercera edicion.

Data Analytic Strategy: Latent curve models (LCMs) will be used to characterize growth of vocabulary breadth and depth and reading comprehension for English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual students from 2nd through 5th grade, and the relationship between that growth and observed instructional practices in the classroom.

Project website: https://clavescurriculum.org/

Publications from this project:

Kohli, N., and Harring, J.R. (2013). Modeling Growth In Latent Variables Using A Piecewise Function. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 48 (3): 370–397.

Leider, C.M., Proctor, C.P., Silverman, R.D., and Harring, J.R. (in press). Examining The Role Of Vocabulary Depth, Cross-Linguistic Transfer, and Types Of Reading Measures On The Reading Comprehension Of Latino Bilinguals In Elementary School. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Proctor, C.P., Silverman, Harring, J., and Montecillo, C. (2012). The Role Of Vocabulary Depth In Predicting Reading Comprehension Among English Monolingual and Spanish-English Bilingual Children In Elementary School. Reading and Writing, 25: 1635–1644.

Proctor, C.P. and Silverman, R.D. (2011). Confounds In Assessing The Associations Between Biliteracy and English Language Proficiency. Educational Researcher, 40 (2): 62–64.


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