Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Field Experience

Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Urban Education

Colleges & School

College Of Education And Leadership

First Advisor

Marian Graeven Peter, PhD

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Vocabulary--Study and teaching; English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; Reading comprehension


The purpose of this research study is to examine the effect of explicit vocabulary instruction through read alouds on Spanish-speaking kindergartners' word meaning acquisition. Research indicates robust vocabulary instruction is essential in early grades to narrow the gap between disadvantaged children and their privileged peers who typically start school with more extensive vocabularies and cumulative language experience (Hart & Risley, 1995). Numerous studies (Beck & McKeown, 2007; Coyne, McCoach & Kapp, 2007; Biemiller & Boote, 2006; Zipoli, Coyne, & McCoach, 2011) have reported on the success of various vocabulary-building strategies for early grades, including direct word meaning instruction paired with repeated readings and supplementary word reviews. The present four-week study was conducted in a low-income urban charter school in which approximately 50% of students are classified as English Language Learners (ELL). Eighteen Spanish-speaking kindergartners participated in the study. Four children's books were read, and eight target words from each story were identified. Half of the target word meanings were explicitly taught to participants, whereas they were incidentally exposed to the remaining half of the target words. Information was gathered at pretest and posttest on the students' knowledge of the 32 target words: 16 taught words and 16 untaught words. Pretest and posttest results were compared to determine each participant's vocabulary growth. Results indicate that explicit vocabulary instruction involving repeated readings of children's books and meaningful extension activities and word reviews can produce vocabulary growth among kindergartners.


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