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The Impact of Word Knowledge Instruction on Literacy Outcomes in Grade 5

Region:
Southeast
Abstract:

Members of the REL Southeast Improving Literacy Alliance from Hillsborough County Public Schools requested a partnership to address their district's growing achievement gap, fueled in part by an increasing number of English learner students. These alliance members see as a potential source of these gaps the lack of academic language skills in upper elementary grade students as they struggle to comprehend informational text. Accordingly, the REL Southeast is testing the impact of Word Knowledge instruction, which consists of daily 15-min lessons for 20 weeks created by Wood and Bustamante (2017).

Approximately 44 schools, 120 grade 5 teachers, and 3,907 grade 5 students will participate during the 2018/19 school year. Teachers assigned to Word Knowledge Instruction will be trained prior to the start of school and provided ongoing support, as needed. Classroom ELA instruction will be observed and fidelity to the Word Knowledge Instruction noted.

Research Questions: The proposed study will be guided by the following research questions. Note that the last two research questions are exploratory.

  1. What is the impact of Word Knowledge Instruction on morphological awareness, as measured by Real Word Decomposition, Nonword Derivation, and Inferencing Word Meanings for grade 5 students' attending high poverty schools?
  2. What is the impact of Word Knowledge Instruction on morphological awareness, knowledge of discourse connectives, and reading comprehension as measured by the FAIR-FS Vocabulary Knowledge Task, FAIR-FS Syntactic Knowledge Task, and the ELA test of the Florida Standards Assessment for grade 5 students' attending high poverty schools?
  3. Is there a differential effect of Word Knowledge Instruction by English learner status on morphological awareness as measured by Real Word Decomposition, Nonword Derivation, and Inferencing Word Meanings for grade 5 students' attending high poverty schools?
  4. Is there a differential effect of Word Knowledge Instruction by English learner status on morphological awareness, discourse connectives, and reading comprehension as measured by the FAIR-FS Vocabulary Knowledge Task, FAIR-FS Syntactic Knowledge Task, and the ELA test of the Florida Standards Assessment for grade 5 students' attending high poverty schools

Study Design: The REL Southeast will randomly assign grade 5 English language arts (ELA) teachers within each school to implement either Word Knowledge Instruction or control ELA instruction (that is, business-as-usual ELA instruction).

Projected Release Date: Spring 2021

Partnership or Research Alliance: Improving Literacy Research Alliance

Related Products: Making an Impact report

Data management plan: View, download, and print the Data Management Plan as a PDF file (415 KB)

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Florida State University's Florida Center for Reading Research
Contact: