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Title:An interactive approach to vocabulary intervention for speech-language pathologists in the classroom: multiple language levels and modalities
Author(s):Kubalanza, Mary Christine
Director of Research:Johnson, Cynthia J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Johnson, Cynthia J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Meadan-Kaplansky, Hedda; Segebart DeThorne, Laura; Anand Mudar, Raksha
Department / Program:Speech & Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech & Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):vocabulary intervention
reading comprehension
Abstract:Language and literacy research suggests a strong correlation between reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. Intervention research suggests that students who are struggling to read at grade level benefit from additional direct instruction. The present study proposed a vocabulary intervention for struggling readers, led by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in the classroom setting. Four second and third grade students participated in small-group instruction during the scheduled classroom literacy block. Two instructional models were compared using a single-case alternating treatments design. During treatment A, small-group instruction integrated interactive, multi-linguistic, and multimodal strategies to support word learning. Research suggests that these instructional techniques may allow students with language and literacy differences greater access to new word knowledge. This treatment is referred to as DRAW, due to one of its multimodal components, in which the students drew pictures. During treatment B, small-group instruction followed a traditional instructional model focused on dictionary definitions and independent composition of sentences using the target words. This treatment is referred to as DICT, due to its use of an online dictionary. Vocabulary gains were measured by the accuracy of written definitions, word recognition during oral reading, and the use of target words during spoken story retell (i.e., vocabulary retell). A secondary analysis of the number of propositions recalled during the spoken story retells was used to explore the effects of vocabulary intervention on overall reading comprehension (i.e., proposition retell). Following treatment, the social validity of the SLP offering classroom-based vocabulary intervention was determined through a teacher questionnaire, as well as teacher and student interviews. A treatment effect was demonstrated for the written definition and word recognition tasks, in which all four and three of the students, respectively, acquired a larger number of words following the DRAW treatment. No effect was demonstrated for vocabulary retell or proposition retell (i.e., reading comprehension). Although only a fairly small number of target words were acquired for written definitions following the DICT treatment, all four of the students acquired one to two thirds of the target words on this measure following the DRAW treatment. Similarly, the students gained approximately one third to one half of the target words on the word recognition measure as well. Two of the students showed a bias towards acquiring nouns, as opposed to verbs and adjectives. With regard to social validity, the teacher indicated that the classroom intervention was effective and feasible. The children reported that they enjoyed the treatment, particularly DRAW. The present study supports the value of SLPs providing intervention or instruction in the classroom (called a “push-in” service delivery model), a practice long advocated by the national professional organization for SLPs, though not yet widely adopted. The study also supports the relatively new concept of in-class, small-group intervention, where students socialize around vocabulary learning tasks, actively focus on multiple linguistic aspects of a word (i.e., how it sounds, how it looks in print, and what it means), and interact with the word through several modalities (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and drawing). With corroboration from the social validity measures, results suggest that an interactive, multi-linguistic, and multimodal intervention is an effective, efficient, feasible, and even enjoyable (for the teacher and students alike) approach to promoting the acquisition of advanced sight vocabulary.
Issue Date:2015-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Mary C. Kubalanza
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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