How oral content vocabulary language transfers to student writing

Julie A. Post


This action research investigated how oral content vocabulary used during oral discussion transferred to students’ academic content writing. In order to accomplish this, four students in fifth grade received explicit vocabulary instruction. The guiding question of the study was: Will the students transfer content vocabulary used in oral discussion to their content area writing? The researcher hypothesized that the students would use more academic content vocabulary during discussion than in their content area writing. An eight-week intervention was conducted. First, student academic content language used orally during discussion was tracked. Next, student writing was analyzed for usage of the same target vocabulary. Then data from these samples were compared. The results showed that explicit instruction of academic content vocabulary fostered an increase in target vocabulary words used in both oral discussions and in student writing. During the intervention, students used more academic content vocabulary during oral conversations than in their writing. There were positive student outcomes in that a higher number of academic content vocabulary words were used in content area writing after the intervention.