Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners'
Vocabulary Acquisition
Debra L. Otterby
Seattle Pacific Uni...
UMI Number: 3353761
INFORMATION TO USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy
submit...
In presenting this dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctoral
Degree at Seattle Pacific Univ...
Acknowledgements
To the staff and English language learners in the district where this study was conducted,
thank you for ...
in loving memory of my father,
The Reverend Leslie H. Otterby
and
in appreciation to these children who have given me
a pe...
Table of Contents
Page
List of Tables vi
List of Figures vii
List of Appendixes viii
Chapter 1: Introduction 4
Vocabulary ...
Chapter 2 14
Chapter 3 14
Chapter 4 14
Chapter 5 14
Terminology 15
LI 15
L2 15
Criteria for English Language Services 15
C...
Chapter 3: Method 43
Introduction 43
Research Design 43
Sampling Procedure 44
Participants 45
Materials 46
Selection of Ta...
Hypothesis 4 61
A Priori Decisions 61
Variables 62
Within-Subjects Factor 62
Dependent Variable 62
Descriptive Statistics ...
Limitations of the Research 82
Threats to Internal Validity 82
Threats to External Validity 84
Recommendations for Future ...
List of Tables
Table 1. Percentages of Students Meeting the Reading Standard on the
2006-2007 Statewide Criterion-Referenc...
List of Figures
Figure 1. Pretest and Posttest Means for three levels of the factor Condition 67
vii
List of Appendixes
Appendix A: Letters of Consent—English, Tagalog, and Spanish 97
Appendix B: Vocabulary Pretest 106
Appe...
2
Seattle Pacific University
Abstract
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners'
Vocabulary Acquisitio...
3
Wilks's lambda, A = .24, F(2,48) = 75.35,p = .00, multivariate n2
= .76. Three planned
pairwise comparisons with a Holm'...
4
Chapter 1
Introduction
Vocabulary Learning
Vocabulary has long been considered one of the essential components of litera...
and there was a need to examine second-language learning; however, they did not include
this aspect because, at that time,...
6
have to understand vocabulary such as democracy, diversity, and colonial. In science,
they have to grasp concepts such a...
7
Questioning the Author (Beck & McKeown, 2001a; Beck & McKeown, 2002; Beck,
McKeown, Hamilton, & Kucan, 1997); having Tex...
8
Mandatory Testingfor English Language Learners
In order to understand written text on state- and federally mandated test...
9
Table 1
Percentages of Students Meeting the Reading Standard on the 2006-2007
Statewide Criterion-Referenced Assessment ...
10
tests. Additionally, a 5-year study conducted by Thomas and Collier (2002) examined
the long-term effects of various ac...
11
Even though there has been abundant research for first-language learners
regarding read alouds and word explanations, t...
12
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The purpose of this study was to determine which instructional practice best
facilita...
13
Hypothesis 4. One null hypothesis is assumed. H0 = There is no statistically
significant difference on the vocabulary p...
14
These provide the basis for articulating the purpose and significance of the study and for
determining relevant researc...
15
Terminology
Because of specialized terminology in second-language research, it is necessary to
define certain jargon an...
16
their English language skills must be sufficiently deficient or absent to impair their
learning in an all-English class...
17
In order for students to remain in the program longer than 3 years, district personnel must
justify students' needs wit...
18
Chapter 2
Literature Review
Introduction
Vocabulary is a crucial component in the reading development of children.
Duri...
19
Furthermore, while various theories regarding the usefulness of orthographic cues have
been proposed, "few, if any, stu...
complex and decontextualized text.
The process of learning to read for second-language learners has also been
considered d...
The first strand involved learning a new language from meaning-focused input in
which 95% of the words were understood by ...
22
learned a word if he or she can recognize, spell, and define it? Or, has he or she learned a
word when it has been used...
23
The use of concrete rather than abstract language has been theorized as an
effective means of retrieving words from one...
24
phonology played an important role because it not only stored parts of words, but also
connected the subunits of those ...
25
experiences, efficiency occurred. Perfetti (2007) delineated efficiency from speed in that
efficiency was "the knowledg...
26
Reading development. Because the focus of this research was vocabulary learning
for English language learners, it was o...
27
the next in reading development. Readers do not instantaneously leave one stage and
begin another at a particular age; ...
28
has increased literacy growth for first- and second-language learners.
The nature of reading aloud to students has vari...
29
books showed gains in English language, students' listening comprehension improved in
the two methods where reading alo...
30
such as, "You said clamor on The Boy Said Wolf, " (Robbins & Ehri, 1994, p. 58).
Another aspect of reading aloud that h...
31
preview-review group had mean gains of 57%. The control group that heard the story
and received no treatment had mean g...
32
most notably for students with lower abilities. Research over the next few decades
showed a variety of direct instructi...
effective avenues to increase vocabulary.
Even so, in a seminal study conducted by Carlo et al. (2004), one particular
ana...
34
useless to learners as there was too much information to process. As a cautionary note,
initial exposure to word meanin...
35
Read alouds coupled with word explanations. While the studies featured in this
section did not focus solely on second-l...
36
More recently, Penno, Moore, and Wilkinson (2002) showed that reading aloud
and explaining target words contributed sig...
37
repetition where target-word sentences were repeated; and (d) verbatim in which students
listened to the story and were...
38
meaning; however, it was the depth of the relationship among these three aspects that
determined how quickly words were...
39
included and two measures were added: (a) naming accuracy and speed for letters of the
alphabet, and (b) phonemic segme...
F(18, 414) = 2.33, p < .01. Post hoc tests revealed the mean value for visual spellings
(M= 2.24) was superior to the othe...
41
1. For beginning readers, there was a mnemonic value regarding orthography.
Sounds that were coupled with spelling aids...
42
words using these methods: (a) showing a picture of the word, (b) hearing the word
pronounced along with it embedded in...
43
Chapter 3
Method
Introduction
This chapter addresses the methodology for conducting this study. Included are
the design...
44
Table 2
Assignment of Participants in a Repeated-Measures Method
Condition
Read/Explain/Spell Read/Explain Read
Pi Pi P...
45
answered questions so students understood their participation was voluntary and their
classroom grades would not be aff...
46
2004-2005 school year, this included an enrollment of 87,343 students, which was nearly
10,000 more students than the p...
challenging vocabulary, using texts from these assessments was of interest because it has
been an underrepresented aspect ...
48
academically challenging words; instead, it was recommended to use grade-level texts as
they provided a continuum of wo...
number of words that teacher actually circled. Then, for each word the teacher chose,
this weighted number was entered int...
50
makers regarding program evaluation. This study focused on the second aspect of
designing discrete vocabulary tests: to...
51
1. The four choices had to be easier than the target word. If the words for the
definition were more difficult than the...
52
plausible, and specific. Those choices were narrowed further using the GSL and AWL,
creating the correct answer: things...
53
Third, the nine target words were distributed among three columns that did not
have Condition factor levels assigned to...
54
determined, so further randomization was needed. To do so, a four-step process was
followed using a web-based randomizi...
55
A posttest of nine items was given to the participants following each of the four
readings (see Table 3). It was scored...
56
Table 3
Posttest Target Words Matchedfor Difficulty Using Pretest Scores
Condition
Read
Reading Explain Read
Passage Sp...
57
is the actual amount of vocabulary learning as measured by the posttest; (b) any test has
some amount of measurement er...
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition
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Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition

  1. 1. Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition Debra L. Otterby Seattle Pacific University
  2. 2. UMI Number: 3353761 INFORMATION TO USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. ® UMI UMI Microform 3353761 Copyright 2009 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC 789 E. Eisenhower Parkway PO Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346
  3. 3. In presenting this dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctoral Degree at Seattle Pacific University, I agree that the library shall make its copies freely available for inspection. I further agree that extensive copying of this dissertation is allowable only for scholarly purposes, consistent with "fair use" as prescribed in the United States Copyright Law. Requests for copying and reproduction of this dissertation may be referred to University Microfilms, 1490 Eisenhower Place, PO Box 975, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, to whom the author has granted "the right to reproduce and sell (a) copies of the manuscript in microfilm, and/or (b) printed copies of the manuscript from microfilm." Signature D^ 07laA/rJi/ zoo*?
  4. 4. Acknowledgements To the staff and English language learners in the district where this study was conducted, thank you for the opportunity to work with you. To my professors at Seattle Pacific University, thank you for providing me with rigorous and challenging curricula. To my dissertation committee, including Dr. Scott F. Beers, Dr. William E. Nagy, and Dr. Christopher A. Sink, thank you for your willingness to be my committee members and for your insight and encouragement. To Dr. William E. Nagy, my dissertation chair, thank you for sharing your expertise in vocabulary learning, for your thoughtful feedback, and for your positive attitude. To Becky, Diane, Eileen, Glenice, Jody, Kathy, Kirsten, Molly, Noyuri, Sharon, Valerie, and Vivian, thank you for your wisdom and for your laughter and thoughtfulness. To Diane, Kurt, and Mark, my siblings, thank you for your constant support and for your kindness. To June, my mother-in-law, thank you for your cheerfulness and for your optimism. To Garry, my dear husband, thank you for the freedom to pursue a lifelong goal and for your unconditional love.
  5. 5. in loving memory of my father, The Reverend Leslie H. Otterby and in appreciation to these children who have given me a perspective of learning through their eyes, Adriana Erica Hailey Jacob Katie Kirsten Luis Marco Maxwell Mayra Ryan Sonja Susana
  6. 6. Table of Contents Page List of Tables vi List of Figures vii List of Appendixes viii Chapter 1: Introduction 4 Vocabulary Learning 4 Mandatory Testing for English Language Learners 8 Purpose of the Study 10 Significance of the Study 10 Research Questions and Hypotheses 12 Research Question 1 12 Research Question 2 12 Research Question 3 12 Research Question 4 12 Hypothesis 1 12 Hypothesis 2 12 Hypothesis 3 12 Hypothesis 4 13 Variables 13 Participants 13 Review of Chapters 13 Chapter 1 13 I
  7. 7. Chapter 2 14 Chapter 3 14 Chapter 4 14 Chapter 5 14 Terminology 15 LI 15 L2 15 Criteria for English Language Services 15 Conclusion 17 Chapter 2: Literature Review 18 Introduction 18 Section 1: Theoretical Foundation 19 Vocabulary Learning Within Reading Development Theory 19 Second-Language Vocabulary Theory 20 Theories Regarding Orthographic Cues 22 Section 2: Review of Research 25 Reading Development 26 Read Alouds 27 Word Explanations 31 Read Alouds Coupled With Word Explanations 35 Orthographic Cues 37 Conclusion 42 ii
  8. 8. Chapter 3: Method 43 Introduction 43 Research Design 43 Sampling Procedure 44 Participants 45 Materials 46 Selection of Target Words 47 Measures 49 Vocabulary Pretest 49 Vocabulary Posttest 52 Test Reliability 56 Procedures 57 Conclusion 59 Chapter 4: Results 60 Introduction 60 Research Questions and Hypotheses 60 Research Question 1 60 Research Question 2 60 Research Question 3 60 Research Question 4 60 Hypothesis 1 61 Hypothesis 2 61 Hypothesis 3 61 iii
  9. 9. Hypothesis 4 61 A Priori Decisions 61 Variables 62 Within-Subjects Factor 62 Dependent Variable 62 Descriptive Statistics of Participants 62 Data Snooping 64 Descriptive Statistics for the Vocabulary Pretest and Posttest 65 Statistical Analyses 66 Assumptions 66 Repeated-Measures Analysis of Variance 61 Planned Pairwise Comparisons 68 Holm's Sequential Bonferroni Procedure 69 Effect Sizes Using Pooled Cohen's d 70 Conclusion 71 Chapter 5: Discussion 73 Introduction 73 Purpose of Research 73 Theoretical Implications 74 Other Theories to Conceptualize Vocabulary Learning 75 Pedagogical Implications 78 Vocabulary Learning 78 Mandatory Testing 80 iv
  10. 10. Limitations of the Research 82 Threats to Internal Validity 82 Threats to External Validity 84 Recommendations for Future Research 84 Conclusion 87 References 88 Appendixes 97 Appendix A: Letters of Consent—English, Tagalog, and Spanish 97 Appendix B: Vocabulary Pretest 106 Appendix C: The Reader Self-Perception Scale—International Reading Association Permission Ill Appendix D: The Reader Self-Perception Scale—English, Tagalog, and Spanish 112 Appendix E: Reading Passages 121 "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose" 121 "The Flame of a Candle" 124 "To Reach the Promised Land" 128 "WasteNot, WantNot" 133 Appendix F: Vocabulary Posttests 138 v
  11. 11. List of Tables Table 1. Percentages of Students Meeting the Reading Standard on the 2006-2007 Statewide Criterion-Referenced Assessment of Learning 9 Table 2. Assignment of Participants in a Repeated-Measures Method 44 Table 3. Posttest Target Words Matched for Difficulty Using Pretest Scores 56 Table 4. Distribution of Participants by Grade, Deleted Cases, and Gender 63 Table 5. Home Languages of Participants 64 Table 6. Descriptive Statistics for the Pretest and Posttest 65 Table 7. Planned Pairwise Comparisons for the Factor Condition Using Posttest Scores 69 VI
  12. 12. List of Figures Figure 1. Pretest and Posttest Means for three levels of the factor Condition 67 vii
  13. 13. List of Appendixes Appendix A: Letters of Consent—English, Tagalog, and Spanish 97 Appendix B: Vocabulary Pretest 106 Appendix C: The Reader Self-Perception Scale—International Reading Association Permission Ill Appendix D: The Reader Self-Perception Scale—English, Tagalog and Spanish 112 Appendix E: Reading Passages 121 "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose" 121 "The Flame of a Candle" 124 "To Reach the Promised Land" 128 "Waste Not, Want Not" 133 Appendix F: Vocabulary Posttests 138 viii
  14. 14. 2 Seattle Pacific University Abstract Instructional Strategies to Enhance English Language Learners' Vocabulary Acquisition By Debra L. Otterby Chairperson of the Dissertation Committee: Dr. William E. Nagy School of Education Vocabulary learning has long been considered one of the essential components of literacy instruction (International Reading Association, 2001; National Reading Panel, 2000). Recently, members of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth have maintained the need to research how English language learners develop their literacy skills (August & Shanahan, 2006). This is critical because of the ever-increasing linguistic heterogeneity in classrooms. The purpose of this study was to investigate instructional strategies that may increase vocabulary learning for English language learners in their middle school years. It was of interest to determine which intervention best facilitated vocabulary learning: (a) read alouds with explanations of target words and an orthographic cue; (b) read alouds with explanations of target words; or (c) read alouds with neither explanations of target words nor an orthographic cue. In a public school district in Northwestern United States, 50 of the potential 52 English language learners in grades 5 through 9 enrolled in the state's Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program participated in the study. A repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted using vocabulary posttest scores to analyze differences among 3 levels of the factor Condition: (a) Read/Explain/Spell; (b) Read/Explain; and (c) Read. Significant difference was found,
  15. 15. 3 Wilks's lambda, A = .24, F(2,48) = 75.35,p = .00, multivariate n2 = .76. Three planned pairwise comparisons with a Holm's sequential Bonferroni procedure were conducted, all of which were significant, and effect sizes were calculated using pooled Cohen's d: (a) Read/Explain/Spell and Read/Explain, t(49) = 8.529, p = .000, d= 1.267; (b) Read/Explain and Read, t(49) = 3.512,p = .001, d= .543; and (c) Read/Explain/Spell and Read, /(49) = 12.018,/? = .000, d= 2.039. These results showed reading aloud coupled with in-flight word explanations and an orthographic cue significantly increased vocabulary learning for English language learners. Implications for instructional practices for second-language learners during their middle school years are included.
  16. 16. 4 Chapter 1 Introduction Vocabulary Learning Vocabulary has long been considered one of the essential components of literacy instruction (International Reading Association, 2001; National Reading Panel, 2000). After students have mastered the alphabetic principle, phonological awareness, and fluency—the building blocks of learning to read—they have transitioned to reading to learn by continuing their fluency development, increasing their vocabulary knowledge, and comprehending written text more fully (Chall, 1987). Over a decade ago, Congress charged members of the National Reading Panel (2000) with the task of assessing research-based evidence and recommending effective approaches regarding comprehension. They formulated seven overarching questions, two of which focused on vocabulary and oral reading instruction: 1. Does vocabulary instruction improve reading? If so, how is this instruction best provided? 2. Does guided oral reading instruction improve fluency and reading comprehension? If so, how is this instruction best provided? (p. 3) These questions led to the idea that investigating instructional practices regarding vocabulary was of merit, especially if they included oral reading. Because of the ever-increasing linguistic heterogeneity in classrooms, it was of further interest to examine these strategies with second-language learners. The National Reading Panel's (2000) members recognized their recommendations applied to first-language learning,
  17. 17. and there was a need to examine second-language learning; however, they did not include this aspect because, at that time, there was another research initiative focused on second-language learning. Recently, authors of the Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth suggested there was a need to research how second-language learners develop their literacy skills (August & Shanahan, 2006). Recommendations from members of these national panels have demonstrated the continued need to investigate instructional practices educators can use to assist English language learners (ELLs), many of whom are placed in English-only classrooms despite arguments to the contrary. The International Reading Association's (2001) position has been that second-language learners should, if they desire, have the opportunity to learn in a multi-lingual environment; however, in the state where this study was conducted nearly 60% of English language learners have begun their educational endeavors in English- only classrooms (Kindler, 2002). Because of this, ELLs in their middle or junior high school years not only have to negotiate communicating their basic needs, but also have to study rigorous curricula in a new language. This two-fold challenge has been known as Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Skills (CALPS) (Cummins, 1994). Simply, both of these challenges are unavoidable in English language learners' everyday and academic life. For example, in school ELLs have to learn basic communicative sentences, such as "When do I have to finish this assignment?" or "How do I find a book in the library?" They also have to grasp cognitively challenging academic vocabulary in subject-specific courses so they can read fluently and comprehend written text. In social studies, they
  18. 18. 6 have to understand vocabulary such as democracy, diversity, and colonial. In science, they have to grasp concepts such as hypothesis, ecosystem, and velocity. In mathematics, they encounter vocabulary such as equation and variable during teachers' instructions and in students' textbooks. To become proficient in a second language, English language learners need time. Those who already have 2 to 3 years of first-language schooling in their home country, require 5 to 7 years to become proficient in a second language, and if there has been no first-language schooling, then 7 to 10 years are needed (Cummins, 1994). The process becomes more daunting because second-language learners must become proficient while their first-language classmates continue to learn. Because ELLs face this challenging and often demanding task when they are in the initial stages of learning a new language, it is incumbent upon researchers and educators to find instructional strategies that facilitate vocabulary learning. Vocabulary acquisition and knowledge have been outlined by many researchers, and there has been a concerted effort to find commonalities. This has encompassed analyzing the development of word meaning vocabulary and determining how students vary in their development. It has involved examining what it means to know a word and exploring how individuals differ in their knowledge of words. It has warranted investigating the connection between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Additionally, there has been a call to analyze social-cognitive factors that potentially motivate students to read. Some of the well-established instructional practices for first-language learners include reading aloud (McKeown & Beck, 2003; Teale, 2003); engaging students in
  19. 19. 7 Questioning the Author (Beck & McKeown, 2001a; Beck & McKeown, 2002; Beck, McKeown, Hamilton, & Kucan, 1997); having Text Talks (Beck & McKeown, 2001b); creating literature circles (Zemelman, Daniels, & Hyde, 1998); and encouraging frequent reading (Nagy & Herman, 1987). Of these practices, reading aloud using a direct instructional approach is of interest because it may provide second-language learners the opportunity to hear stories they might not otherwise be able to read if given the written text. Direct and indirect instructional approaches to teach vocabulary have been shown to be effective (National Reading Panel, 2000); however, providing ELLs with explicit, direct instruction of definitions may be more beneficial for vocabulary growth than having them rely on contextual support (Nagy, 1997). A direct instructional approach of reading aloud and explaining reading strategies helps students understand how to use these effective approaches (Teale, 2003). Reading aloud using a variety of genres may encourage students to read more broadly (Ivey & Broaddus, 2007), and ELLs can gain information about specific topics while listening (Read, 2000). Hearing stories read aloud gives ELLs the opportunity to observe someone who reads fluently (Manyak, 2007). For less-motivated readers, hearing stories may spark their interest to read. Children of all ages enjoy having stories read to them because it is a social and interactive activity (Barrera & Bauer, 2003). In light of these reasons, reading aloud coupled with direct instruction of vocabulary may be an effective strategy to assist second-language learners as they acquire new vocabulary.
  20. 20. 8 Mandatory Testingfor English Language Learners In order to understand written text on state- and federally mandated tests in core subject areas, such as reading, language arts, and math, English language learners must have basic vocabulary knowledge. At the federal level, Title III has specified that annual achievement objectives must be developed to measure English language learners' language proficiency so they meet the same standards as other students (United States Department of Education, 2005). Within the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, ELLs must be tested annually regarding their educational progress (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007). In the state where this study was conducted, ELLs are assessed annually using a language proficiency test that is given to those who quality for state services in addition to a statewide criterion-referenced assessment that is administered to all students. When comparing ELLs in the school district where this study was conducted to ELLs statewide, the percentage of students meeting the reading standard on the mandated criterion-referenced test for the school year 2006-2007 was consistently in the 40% range for both groups; however, when comparing ELLs in the district to all students statewide, the percentage of ELLs in the district meeting the reading standard was considerably lower than all students (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007; see Table 1).
  21. 21. 9 Table 1 Percentages of Students Meeting the Reading Standard on the 2006-2007 Statewide Criterion-Referenced Assessment of Learning Grade District Migrant Percentages State Migrant State All Students 5 6 7 8 44 51 48 33 40 42 42 44 72 68 69 65 Note. On the website of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, data for the school district in this study were reported in the category Migrant instead of Limited English. Also, school districts vary regarding reading tests for ninth graders, and there were no scores reported to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; therefore, ninth-grade data were not included in the above table. In analyzing other data, a notable portion of English language learners narrowly missed meeting the reading standard. The percentage of students at Level II, which is just below the standard, for Grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 was 48%, 36%, 42%, and 46%, respectively. These data on reading show English language learners in the school district where this study was conducted are struggling on mandated assessments. The effects of testing have been studied by researchers, such as Garcia (1991) who reported Latina/o students in Grades 5 and 6 knew fewer vocabulary words in reading passages than monolinguals, and this adversely affected their performance on
  22. 22. 10 tests. Additionally, a 5-year study conducted by Thomas and Collier (2002) examined the long-term effects of various academic courses on student achievement. The results showed there was an association between ELLs' reading scores and their post-secondary admissions test scores. In light of state- and federally mandated testing throughout English language learners' academic lives, it is worthwhile to investigate strategies that help them improve their reading skills. One variable could be certain instructional practices that have the potential to increase vocabulary learning, which in turn may improve comprehension skills. It is recognized, however, there are innumerable factors that may influence vocabulary learning and comprehension. Purpose of the Study This study explored instructional strategies that potentially enhance vocabulary learning for English language learners in their middle school years. It was of interest to determine which intervention best facilitated vocabulary learning: (a) read alouds with explanations of target words and an orthographic cue; (b) read alouds with explanations of target words; or (c) read alouds with neither explanations of target words nor an orthographic cue. Significance of the Study As a result of this study, educators may have a better understanding of certain factors that increase vocabulary learning for English language learners. This may give them insight into effective strategies for teaching vocabulary so ELLs learn challenging academic vocabulary essential for comprehension in subject-specific courses and on mandatory tests.
  23. 23. 11 Even though there has been abundant research for first-language learners regarding read alouds and word explanations, there has been an increasing need for in-depth studies that focus on these strategies as an avenue for ELLs to learn vocabulary. Research that includes reading aloud coupled with word explanations and the use of orthographic cues is needed as this may provide ELLs with a multi-sensory approach when learning new vocabulary. Studies that have focused on primary-aged students have been plentiful, yet research with participants in their middle school years is needed, and research that exclusively focuses on English language learners in their middle school years is scarce. This study has provided needed insight into students who are learning a new language in their middle or junior high school years, specifically Grades 5 through 9. English language learners in the state where this study was conducted are exempt from the mandated criterion-referenced test during their first year of residency. Thereafter, they are required to participate in the yearly examination even if they do not understand the vocabulary. It is of interest, then, to use released items from this assessment so ELLs have experiences with the kind of vocabulary needed to perform well. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine if certain instructional strategies had the potential to promote English language learners' vocabulary learning because vocabulary knowledge is essential for comprehending academically challenging content in subject-specific courses and on mandated assessments.
  24. 24. 12 Research Questions and Hypotheses The purpose of this study was to determine which instructional practice best facilitated vocabulary learning for English language learners. The research questions and hypotheses are as follows: Research question 1. Do the means on the vocabulary posttest differ across the three levels of the intervention factor Condition: (a) Read/Explain/Spell—read alouds with explanations of target words and an orthographic cue; (b) Read/Explain-—read alouds with explanations of target words; and (c) Read—read alouds with neither explanations of target words nor an orthographic cue? Research question 2. Do the means on the vocabulary posttest differ for the planned comparison between Read/Explain/Spell and Read/Explain? Research question 3. Do the means on the vocabulary posttest differ for the planned comparison between Read/Explain and Read? Research question 4. Do the means on the vocabulary posttest differ for the planned comparison between Read/Explain/Spell and Read? Hypothesis 1. One null hypothesis is assumed. H0 = There is no statistically significant difference on the vocabulary posttest among the three levels of the factor Condition—Read/Explain/Spell, Read/Explain, and Read. Hypothesis 2. One null hypothesis is assumed. H0 = There is no statistically significant difference on the vocabulary posttest between Read/Explain/Spell and Read/Explain. Hypothesis 3. One null hypothesis is assumed. H0 = There is no statistically significant difference on the vocabulary posttest between Read/Explain and Read.
  25. 25. 13 Hypothesis 4. One null hypothesis is assumed. H0 = There is no statistically significant difference on the vocabulary posttest between Read/Explain/Spell and Read. Variables For this repeated-measures analysis of variance, there was one within-subjects factor Condition with three levels: (a) Read/Explain/Spell; (b) Read/Explain; and (c) Read. The dependent variable was the vocabulary posttest. Participants In the school district where this study was conducted, 50 of the potential 52 English language learners in Grades 5 through 9 enrolled in the state's Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program (TBIP) participated in a 7-week study. During this time they followed this schedule: 1. Returned the Informed Consent document to participate (see Appendix A); 2. Completed a researcher-created vocabulary pretest (see Appendix B); 3. Answered questions on The Reader Self-Perception Scale1 (Henk & Melnick, 1995; see Appendixes C and D); 4. Listened to four stories, read at separate times, in which nine target words were presented using different instructional strategies (see Appendix E); and 5. Completed a researcher-created vocabulary posttest after each reading (see Appendix F). Review of Chapters Chapter 1. Included in the Introduction is an explanation of several challenges facing English language learners, namely vocabulary learning and mandatory testing. 1 The International Reading Association granted permission to reprint this scale and have it translated into Spanish and Tagalog.
  26. 26. 14 These provide the basis for articulating the purpose and significance of the study and for determining relevant research questions, developing hypotheses, and defining the variables. The final section provides definitions for terms germane to English language learning. Chapter 2. The first section of this chapter details the theoretical foundation for conducting this study by explaining the reading development theory, second-language vocabulary learning theory, and various theories supporting the use of orthographic cues. The second section reviews pertinent research that supports these theories. Chapter 3. This chapter details the design of the research study, the sampling procedure, and the participants. The materials include four reading passages from the state-released assessment of student learning. The process for creating a vocabulary pretest and posttest is described, and the procedure for conducting the intervention sessions with participants is explained. Chapter 4. The research questions, the hypotheses, and the variables are identified in the first section of this chapter. Then, the results of the statistical procedures, including descriptive statistics, repeated-measures ANOVA, planned pairwise comparisons, and effect sizes using pooled Cohen's d are detailed. Chapter 5. The final chapter provides the justification for conducting this research study. The study's purpose is summarized, and theoretical and pedagogical implications are discussed. Limitations to the research and recommendations for future research are proposed.
  27. 27. 15 Terminology Because of specialized terminology in second-language research, it is necessary to define certain jargon and to explain the state program for second-language services. LI. Students' first language (LI) is their primary or native language. L2. Students' second language (L2) is the language they are acquiring, having learned the spoken and/or written register of a first language. Terminology for second-language learning has varied from state to state—even school district to school district: (a) ESL, English as a Second Language; (b) LEP, Limited English Proficient; (c) ELD, English Language Development; and (d) ELL, English Language Learner. For consistency, the terms second-language learners and English language learners are used throughout the chapters. Criteriafor English language services. Even though there are many second-language learners nationwide, only students who meet certain criteria receive Title III services. Data collected from educational agencies regarding the process to identify students for services revealed that home language, parental information, students' grades and records, and teachers' observations and interviews were frequently used. To assess language proficiency, four tests were commonly given: (a) Language Assessment Scales, LAS; (b) IDEA Language Proficiency Tests, IPT; (c) Woodcock- Munoz Language Survey; and (d) Language Assessment (Kindler, 2002). These large- scale tests have varied regarding students' eligibility and cut-off scores; therefore, their results should be interpreted cautiously. In the state where this study was conducted, students eligible for the Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program must have "a primary language other than English and
  28. 28. 16 their English language skills must be sufficiently deficient or absent to impair their learning in an all-English classroom setting" (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007, p. 6). In the district where this study was conducted, the following criteria have been used to identify English language learners. Parents or guardians complete a registration form. If certain questions indicate their child's primary language is not English, or the language spoken at home is not English, parents or guardians fill out an in-depth Home Language Survey. The district coordinator conducts a student interview. A state-required language proficiency placement test is administered to determine eligibility for the state's Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program. (S. Nolan, personal communication, December 17,2007). According to the state's guidelines, English language learners remain in TBIP until one these criteria has been met: 1. On the state-required language proficiency test, ELLs must reach the highest level on the reading assessment (Level IV—Transitional) and the second-highest level on the writing assessment (Level III—Advanced). 2. On the state-required criterion-referenced assessment of learning, ELLs must reach the reading standard (400 points), and they must score just below the writing standard (7 of 12 points in Grades 4 and 7; 13 of 24 points in Grade 10). 3. On a nationally normed test of reading and language arts, ELLs must reach the 35th percentile (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007).
  29. 29. 17 In order for students to remain in the program longer than 3 years, district personnel must justify students' needs with empirical evidence. Conclusion This chapter detailed several challenges—vocabulary learning and mandatory testing—facing English language learners as they begin their educational life. In light of these, it is important for researchers and educators to find effective instructional strategies that promote vocabulary learning so ELLs can use their knowledge of word meanings to help them comprehend cognitively challenging language. Three potential practices include read alouds, word explanations, and orthographic cues.
  30. 30. 18 Chapter 2 Literature Review Introduction Vocabulary is a crucial component in the reading development of children. During the emergent literacy phase, learning to read, instruction focuses on alphabetic principle, phonological awareness, and fluency. As children learn letters, sounds, and words, they connect the pronunciations of words with their spellings and meanings in their memory. For instance, children learn the letters rat are associated with the sounds Ixl Id HI, and with time, they make a connection between the spelling of rat and its pronunciation and its meaning (Rosenthal & Ehri, 2008). Vocabulary learning continues to be crucial during and after the transition from learning to read to reading to learn because of the vocabulary-comprehension cycle: As students acquire vocabulary knowledge, their comprehension increases, and this provides them with the cognitive ability to acquire more vocabulary knowledge and to improve comprehension even further. In reading development theory, constructs regarding vocabulary learning for first-language learners have been well developed and validated in quantitative research; however, consensus has yet to be reached regarding a theoretical framework for second-language vocabulary learning (Read, 2000). August, Carlo, Dressier, and Snow (2005) have argued that very few quasi-experimental or experimental studies have been conducted in the past 25 years to examine various theories regarding vocabulary acquisition for English language learners, and few researchers have investigated and created programs to enhance second-language reading vocabulary (Garcia, 2000).
  31. 31. 19 Furthermore, while various theories regarding the usefulness of orthographic cues have been proposed, "few, if any, studies to date have examined experimentally whether seeing the spellings of words contributes to vocabulary learning" (Rosenthal & Ehri, 2008, p. 176). Even so, there are various suppositions and pertinent research studies that correspond to the purpose of this study. Section 1: Theoretical Foundation Vocabulary learning within reading development theory. The contextual framework for analyzing vocabulary learning was based on reading development theory, first proposed in 1979 (Chall, 1987). Reading was conceptualized "not as a process that is the same from the beginning stage through mature, skilled reading but as one that changes as the reader becomes more able and proficient" (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990, p. 9). Simply, reading development for first-language learners was viewed as a fluid process among six stages: Stage 0, prereading; Stage 1, initial decoding and reading; Stage 2, confirmation and fluency; Stage 3, reading for learning the new; Stage 4, multiple viewpoints; and Stage 5, construction and reconstruction. Even though children passed from stage to stage at different times, Stage 3 typically occurred for native speakers of a language between ages 9 and 13 and in Grades 4 through 8 (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990). During this time they transitioned from Stage 2 learning to read to Stage 3 reading to learn using a variety of fiction and nonfiction sources, such as textbooks, trade books, reference materials, newspapers, magazines, and online references. In other words, there was a significant shift from a word recognition vocabulary in which students identified words and decoded them to a word meaning vocabulary where students learned unfamiliar words in increasingly
  32. 32. complex and decontextualized text. The process of learning to read for second-language learners has also been considered developmental in nature, according to members of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Youth and Children (August & Shanahan, 2008). They asserted the "relationships among the components of literacy are not static and may change with the learners' age, levels of second-language oral proficiency, cognitive abilities, and previous learning" (p. 7). Second-language vocabulary theory. One essential component of reading is learning vocabulary, and the challenge facing English language learners when developing a word meaning vocabulary has been gaining enough vocabulary knowledge to comprehend words and sentences, and, in turn, comprehending enough words and sentences so that more vocabulary can be learned (Laufer, 1997). Read (2000) maintained, "There is no comprehensive, generally accepted conceptual framework for L2 vocabulary work" (p. 153). Despite this, Nation (2001) postulated a construct that provided the theoretical foundation for this study because it integrated the importance of vocabulary acquisition, vocabulary knowledge, and vocabulary use. Nation proposed a goal-oriented construct for second-language learning: (a) language items, including pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammatical constructions; (b) ideas, involving the content of the subject matter and cultural knowledge; (c) skills, consisting of accuracy, fluency, strategies, and subskills; and (d) text, including conversational discourse guidelines and text schemata. To cover these goals effectively, educators were advised to provide ELLs with a balanced approach that included four strands of language learning.
  33. 33. The first strand involved learning a new language from meaning-focused input in which 95% of the words were understood by a student. Listening and reading activities were introduced for the purpose of gaining information. The second strand highlighted language-focused learning, and within this strand, teaching and learning vocabulary was embedded. The goal was to produce an ongoing progression of vocabulary knowledge through direct instruction as a means to benefit language learning. The third strand identified meaning-focused output as integral to language learning. In this strand, students engaged in speaking and writing activities as a means to convey information. The goal was to use a productive mode in order to strengthen knowledge of words they already knew. The final strand was fluency development in which learners increased their fluency of already known words. For example, students may have learned new words in a second language and have felt confident in their speaking ability, but when they have interacted with a store clerk who speaks too quickly, the words have become incomprehensible. Because of this, it has been imperative that second-language learners not only learn new words, but also speak and write them fluently. Therefore, Nation (2001) asserted that when developing reading competency, teachers should focus on each strand approximately 25% of the time. Even though vocabulary was embedded in the four strands, the first and second strands provided the underlying principles for this study: (a) Meaning-focused input included the skill of listening, and (b) language-focused learning necessitated vocabulary teaching and learning using direct instruction. The construct of second-language vocabulary learning must be narrowed because of various suppositions regarding what it actually means to know a word. Has a student
  34. 34. 22 learned a word if he or she can recognize, spell, and define it? Or, has he or she learned a word when it has been used correctly in speaking and writing? Nation (2001) proposed a construct for knowing a word that included three aspects: (a) form, in terms of spoken, written, and word parts; (b) meaning, in terms of form and meaning, concept and referents, and associations; and (c) use, in terms of grammatical functions, collocations, and constraints. Of these three aspects, the first and second facets are associated with Stage 3 of the reading development theory because English language learners need to know the spoken and written forms of words and to understand the meanings of vocabulary words in order to be proficient in Stage 3—reading for learning the new. Theories regarding orthographic cues. Nation's (2001) goal-oriented theory regarding second-language learning, explained in the previous section, provided one assumption for this study's theoretical framework. Equally important was information-processing theories regarding orthography as they provide the rationale for showing students the spellings of words. The theoretical basis has been derived from the supposition that word meanings are stored visually and linguistically, and utilizing mental images enhances the learning and memory-retrieving process (Sadoski & Paivio, 2004). In other words, there has been the assumption that connecting the orthographic and phonological representation of words secures them in memory for later retrieval. First proposed by Paivio in 1971, the Dual Coding Theory has evolved to presume "cognition occurs in two independent but connected codes: a verbal code for language and a nonverbal code for mental imagery" (Sadoski, 2005, p. 221). Therefore, one hypothesis in this study has assumed instructional practices that include multi-sensory modalities facilitate vocabulary learning.
  35. 35. 23 The use of concrete rather than abstract language has been theorized as an effective means of retrieving words from one's memory. Paivio, Kahn, and Begg (2000) provided this explanation: Dual coding theory explains positive effects of word concreteness in target tasks primarily in terms of the following empirically supported assumptions: (a) Nonverbal images are more likely to be aroused by concrete than abstract words; (b) the memory traces of the activated images are "stronger" than the verbal traces of the words themselves; (c) the image and verbal traces are mnemonically independent and additive; (d) concrete word pairs promote activation of compound images that function as integrated memory traces; and (e) the integrated image can be redintegrated by presentation of one pair member as a retrieval cue, thereby mediating response recall, (p. 149) The second of these assumptions provided the rationale for the inclusion of an orthographic image: "Memory traces of the activated images are 'stronger' than the verbal traces of the words themselves" (Paivio, Kahn, & Begg, 2000, p. 149). In other words, it can be assumed that the use of an orthographic cue as a means to learn vocabulary is stronger than just the verbal code. The importance of orthographic cues can be understood using the theory of comprehension skill and the Lexical Quality Hypothesis (Perfetti, 2007). Regarding the theory of comprehension skill, first theorized in 1985, Perfetti postulated the central issue regarding word identification involved phonological procedures that allowed words to be retrieved from one's memory—even if their meanings were or were not retrieved. It was assumed that alphabetic reading skill was based on the ability to decode words, and
  36. 36. 24 phonology played an important role because it not only stored parts of words, but also connected the subunits of those words. Perfetti (2007) further proposed in the Lexical Quality Hypothesis that comprehension was dependent on reading words successfully. Specifically, knowledge of the quality of word representations—orthography, phonology, grammar, and meaning—had consequences for processing word meanings, and equally important, the knowledge of how these four processes were bound together impacted comprehension. Thus, the underlying premise of the Lexical Quality Hypothesis was "variation in the quality of word representations has consequences for reading skill, including comprehension" (p. 357). It was presumed that orthographic forms having high lexical quality were retrieved quickly and consistently, and those having low lexical quality led to problems in comprehension. The lexical quality of words was defined as the degree to which a mental representation of them occurred, and there were two qualities: preciseness and flexibility (Perfetti, 2007). For example, preciseness referred to knowing that base and bass or metal and medal were different. Flexibility referred to knowing the "meanings of 'roaming charge' and 'a fee charged by a mobile phone service for calls initiated or received outside a contracted service area' are the same" (p. 359). At times precision and flexibility were needed to pronounce and to comprehend words, such as "The bow of the ship hit the dock" and "A bow is used in archery." The variability for readers, then, included not only vocabulary size, but also the stability of knowledge regarding the representation of words. Components of knowledge included word forms and meanings, and when this knowledge was practiced via reading
  37. 37. 25 experiences, efficiency occurred. Perfetti (2007) delineated efficiency from speed in that efficiency was "the knowledge a reader has about words, specific lexical representations" (p. 359). When readers efficiently and rapidly retrieved words, they reached high levels of comprehension. In light of this, Perfetti hypothesized that knowledge of word representations had its place with other cognitive processes, such as decoding, phonological processes, and automaticity. Dual Coding Theory and Lexical Quality Hypothesis can be further substantiated by Rosenthal and Ehri's (2008) connectionist theory that presumed spellings of words were mnemonic devices that facilitated a reader's ability to connect them to their pronunciations and meanings. For example, the process of connecting the spelling of rat with its pronunciation and its meaning secured it in memory. Then, when this word was seen sometime in the future, it was easily retrieved from memory. These theories—reading development theory, goal-oriented theory, and information-processing theories regarding orthographic cues—have provided the framework for this study. It is theorized that hearing a target word read aloud and seeing its written form connects that word with its definition, and for English language learners this may promote vocabulary learning, an essential component of reading to learn. Section 2: Review of Research The second section of this chapter reviews pertinent quantitative and qualitative research that correlates with the theoretical suppositions outlined in the first section. Of importance are studies relating to five aspects of vocabulary learning: (a) general reading development; (b) read alouds; (c) word explanations; (d) read alouds coupled with word explanations; and (e) orthographic cues.
  38. 38. 26 Reading development. Because the focus of this research was vocabulary learning for English language learners, it was of interest to identify, as closely as possible, where vocabulary becomes critical in the five stages of reading development. Knowing this provided the researcher with a guideline for choosing the grade levels of students to include in this study. In reading development theory, vocabulary learning has been shown to be an essential skill throughout all stages of reading. However, as children's reading development transitions from Stage 2 learning to read to Stage 3 reading to learn and thereafter, vocabulary learning has evolved from a word recognition vocabulary to a word meaning vocabulary. This progression has been validated using two factor analyses. In factor analysis 1, students' scores in Grades 2, 4, and 6 were examined on measures of reading, writing, and language. Literacy (reading and writing) was defined as the strongest factor, and the highest loadings were oral reading, phonics (decoding), and word recognition, .85, .83, and .82, respectively (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990). These findings revealed that students were in Stage 2 learning to read. The transition to Stage 3 reading to learn was shown in factor analysis 2 that examined students' scores in Grades 3, 5, and 7 on measures of reading, writing, and language. The strongest factor was defined as reading, and the highest loadings were vocabulary knowledge, silent reading comprehension, and word meaning, .82, .81, and .78, respectively (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990). These results indicated a word meaning vocabulary was an important aspect of reading to learn. The grade levels in each of these studies were fairly similar, and this indicated the fluidity from one stage to
  39. 39. 27 the next in reading development. Readers do not instantaneously leave one stage and begin another at a particular age; instead, development through the stages has been a gradual back-and-forward progression. Because having a word meaning vocabulary has been shown to be crucial in Stage 3 and thereafter, it was of interest to review research regarding instructional practices that promoted vocabulary learning at this stage, especially for English language learners. August, Carlo, Dressier, and Snow's (2005) recent review showed various strategies have assisted ELLs in their vocabulary development, one of which is knowing the meaning of basic words. Studies that have focused on learning word meanings have shown various methods to be effective, such as read alouds (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985; Elley & Mangubhai, 1983; Feitelson, Goldstein, Iraqi, & Share, 1993; Ivey & Broaddus, 2007; Robbins & Ehri, 1994); word explanations (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982; Carlo, et al., 2004; Chall, 1987; Graves, 1987; Manyak, 2007; Nation, 2001); read alouds with word explanations (Brett, Rothlein, & Hurley, 1996; Elley, 1989; Penno, Moore, & Wilkinson, 2002); and the use of orthographic cues (Ehri & Wilce, 1979; Koda, 1997; Rosenthal & Ehri, 2008). Read alouds. Reading aloud received much attention from the National Academy of Education's Commission on Reading, the National Institute of Education, and the Center for the Study of Reading when the authors of Becoming a Nation of Readers concluded, "The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children" (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985, p. 23). Since then, research has shown that reading aloud to students
  40. 40. 28 has increased literacy growth for first- and second-language learners. The nature of reading aloud to students has varied from classroom to classroom. In some, there have been regularly scheduled times for teachers to read aloud, whereas in other classrooms there may have been a concentrated read-aloud time when, for instance, a teacher has read a novel to students. Despite the range of instructional practices, research over the past three decades has shown that reading aloud has been useful for most children (Teale, 2003). In a study 25 years ago, Elley and Mangubhai (1983) analyzed the effect of either reading aloud or not reading aloud on students' listening comprehension and found reading aloud was more beneficial. Students between the ages of 9 and 11 in eight rural Fijian schools were randomly assigned to one of two book-flood methods. In the first method Shared Book Experience, teachers read aloud new books in either their entirety or a portion of them and included follow-up activities. In the second method Silent Reading, teachers displayed new books, read aloud regularly, and provided 20 to 30 minutes of daily sustained silent reading. The control group continued with the normal English-learning curriculum called Oral English Syllabus in which words and structures were taught in a sequential order with little exposure to trade books. The results for listening comprehension in Class 5—approximately one half of the study's participants—showed a significant difference between reading aloud using book floods and the normal English-learning curriculum, F(, 266) = 35.74,/? < .001. Also, the Shared Book group where teachers read aloud new books in their entirety surpassed the Silent Reading group where teachers read aloud regularly, F(l, 266) = 5.19,/? < .01. Even though the study's main focus was whether or not exposure to rich and high-interest
  41. 41. 29 books showed gains in English language, students' listening comprehension improved in the two methods where reading aloud was an integral feature (Elley & Mangubhai, 1983). More recently, a formative experiment, which included a mixed-method of quantitative and qualitative measures, was conducted with 14 English language learners in Grades 7 and 8 who qualified for school services because they were in the initial stages of literacy learning. Interventions over the course of a school year included two aspects: (a) self-selected reading, and (b) teacher-directed reading and writing exercises. The original classroom schedule was changed to modify aspects of the study the researchers felt promoted reading, one of which was introducing daily teacher read alouds. The teachers reported benefits, such as students selecting more English texts than Spanish-only texts; valuing the teachers' choices as it meant these books were worthwhile; and choosing the read-aloud books as a choice during independent reading, which increased the students' confidence in reading (Ivey & Broaddus, 2007). Despite the fact that reading aloud as a general practice has been beneficial, it was necessary to determine if students really benefited from either hearing or not hearing target words during a read aloud. A focal point in another study analyzed whether students' word knowledge increased when teachers either read the target words aloud or did not read them aloud. Thirty-three students in kindergarten heard one of two edited stories The Boy Who Cried Wolf and A Crocodile's Tale with readability levels at Grade 2. The repeated measures factor Heard-Not Heard was found to be significant, F(l, 32) = 29.258,/? < .001, demonstrating the importance of reading target words aloud so students can hear them. Anecdotally, the researchers commented that during interviews after the posttest some students recognized the target words with statements,
  42. 42. 30 such as, "You said clamor on The Boy Said Wolf, " (Robbins & Ehri, 1994, p. 58). Another aspect of reading aloud that has been of interest is whether or not to use students' most familiar language or the one they are learning. Feitelson, Goldstein, Iraqi, and Share (1993) investigated whether reading stories aloud in FusHa, the formal language in the Arab world, assisted skill development in emergent literacy despite the fact students' everyday language was a colloquial dialect Aamiyya. Over the course of 5 months, students in the experimental group listened to stories in FusHa. Posttest scores on listening comprehension showed the experimental group surpassed the control group, demonstrating the benefit of reading aloud using the language students were acquiring. A unique feature of reading aloud to English language learners has been the use of concurrent translations. It has been argued that if both languages were available to students, they concentrated on their native language rather than the target language. In Ulanoff and Pucci's (1999) study, three classes of students in Grade 3 were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions. Even though data were collected for all students, the study included a random sample that spoke Spanish as their primary language. Of these students, the control group listened to a story in English. Another group heard the same story in English, but received a concurrent translation. The third group received a preview-review scaffolding approach where the teacher used Spanish to share pertinent information and to discuss difficult words prior to and following reading the story in English. While the results of this study showed using scaffolding to build background knowledge was the most effective, Ulanoff and Pucci (1999) also found concurrent translations did not significantly facilitate vocabulary acquisition. The subjects in the
  43. 43. 31 preview-review group had mean gains of 57%. The control group that heard the story and received no treatment had mean gains of 19%, whereas students in the concurrent translation group had mean gains of only 12%. The researchers indicated that while the total sample included 60 students, dividing them into three groups was a limitation. These findings are contradictory to what members of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Youth and Children found: "Students perform better when they read materials in the language they know better and when the text language is clearly written and accessible" (August & Shanahan, 2008, p. 106). These research studies over the past few decades have shown reading aloud has been a beneficial instructional practice to learn target words; however, students must also learn the meanings of words, and certain instructional practices have been proven to be effective. Word explanations. Providing students with explanations of words has been shown to be a useful instructional strategy for learning vocabulary. Researchers have investigated how to deliver explanations—directly or indirectly. They have also examined the length, suitability, and quality of explanations. There have been various direct instructional methods for explaining words, such as in-flight definitions where the reader pauses to give a concise explanation or synonym (Elley, 1989), or where a more in-depth dialogue occurs between the reader and the listener (Beck & McKeown, 2001a, 2001b; McKeown & Beck, 2003). As early as 1938, Gray and Holmes explored which of two methods, wide reading or direct instruction, increased word meaning vocabularies. For students in Grade 4, gains on vocabulary and comprehension tests were significant using direct instruction,
  44. 44. 32 most notably for students with lower abilities. Research over the next few decades showed a variety of direct instructional methods to be effective over no instruction; however, this was pessimistically interpreted that because no superior method came to the forefront, direct instruction was not a beneficial means to increase word meaning vocabularies (Chall, 1987). Despite this, a study in the early 1980s showed that instruction of target word meanings was effective. Even though the participants were not English language learners, the findings have had instructional implications. Over the course of 5 months, 27 students in Grade 4 in the instructed group were given a specific vocabulary training program in which they learned 104 words. During a 5-day cycle, they learned a set of 8 to 10 words. The first day included direct instruction of target word meanings, and the other days included various instructed activities. The control group of 39 students followed the school's textbook language arts curriculum. Results of this study showed the instructed group made gains in "all tasks, ranging from single-word semantic decision through text recall and even apparent transfer to standardized tests of vocabulary and comprehension" (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982, p. 518). Researchers during this time, however, questioned whether or not the most comprehensive explicit instruction was enough to establish a substantial size in vocabulary and suggested a more global viewpoint was needed. Nagy and Herman (1987) argued that direct teaching of word meanings for a particular reading lesson may have been beneficial, but it did not provide a considerable increase in students' total vocabulary size. This argument has had merit for second-language learners because other practices, such as repeated exposures to text or high-interest books, may be more
  45. 45. effective avenues to increase vocabulary. Even so, in a seminal study conducted by Carlo et al. (2004), one particular analysis showed that mastery of words explicitly taught resulted in an effect size of .34. English language learners in Grades 4 and 5 participated in a 2-year study to analyze whether improvements in vocabulary correlated with improvements in reading comprehension when useful words and word-learning strategies were taught. At the end of the study, second-language learners who received English instruction that focused on the depth of vocabulary knowledge and on strategies for word comprehension performed as well as or better than an English-only control group in areas of word knowledge and reading comprehension. Even though explanations of words via direct instruction have been shown to be an effective instructional strategy, there have been varied opinions as to the appropriate length of the explanations. Chaudron's study (as cited in Nation, 2001) showed teachers' oral definitions that were overly complicated and lengthy made it difficult for learners to grasp how all the words in the definition were connected: Were they the same, or did they provide more information? In another study, Ellis (as cited in Nation, 2001) found vocabulary instruction was effective when concise, simple definitions were used. Ellis examined input factors that influenced vocabulary learning. One intervention involved giving definitions and elaborations that were short and included few defining characteristics, and this method, compared to pre-modified input in which definitions were embedded in the text, showed vocabulary learning was more likely to occur. Ellis reasoned concise definitions were effective because longer definitions overloaded learners' short-term memories, thereby making lengthy and elaborate definitions rather
  46. 46. 34 useless to learners as there was too much information to process. As a cautionary note, initial exposure to word meanings using brief instruction was beneficial for second- language learners if it was followed by more in-depth learning of word knowledge (Graves, 1987). This was also true for their academic vocabulary development in that instruction should be explicit, yet thorough (Manyak, 2007). Another aspect of providing students with definitions has been the suitability and the quality of word explanations. Nagy (1988) argued that definitions from dictionaries may be accurate, but that did not mean they were helpful enough for the reader to use them correctly. Even in basal readers, glossaries may not provide suitable definitions. In the second of two experiments, Scott and Nagy (1997) examined the quality of three types of definitions. Conventional definitions were defined as meanings of words from traditional dictionaries. Another format was the use of conventional definitions supplemented with an example sentence. The third type was considered transparent, which has been recently used in children's dictionaries. Basically, words have been defined first by giving a phrase using the entry word and then a paraphrase that explains the entry word. For instance, in the current study one of the target words was convinced, and in the Scholastic Children's Dictionary (Macy, 2002) the definition was, "If you convince someone, you make the person believe you" (p. 118). The results showed no significant difference among the three formats of definitions. Even though the focus of the study was on fragment selection errors, it was noteworthy that no superior form of quality among the three formats was found. Even though these studies have shown the particularized benefits of either read alouds or word explanations, further inquiry into studies that included both of these strategies was necessary.
  47. 47. 35 Read alouds coupled with word explanations. While the studies featured in this section did not focus solely on second-language learners, they represented the most comprehensive research over the past 2 decades on read alouds coupled with word explanations. Generally, they showed that participants benefited from a combination of listening to stories with short explanations of words. In the second of two studies conducted nearly 20 years ago, Elley (1989) explored the effects of teachers' explanations of words during read alouds to no explanations during read alouds. Group A and B included 127 students who were 8 years old, and Group C included 51 students who were of similar age and background. Results for Rapscallion Jones, one of the stories that was read aloud, showed overall mean gains for Group A (with explanations) and Group B (without explanations) were 39.9% and 14.8%, respectively. Group C, the control group, had a less than 2% gain. Also, for all groups the mean gain on five control words was close to zero. Further research has confirmed students' vocabulary knowledge increases from listening to stories and hearing short explanations of target words. In a study conducted by Brett, Rothlein, and Hurley (1996), 175 students who were ages 9 through 11 listened to Bunnicula and The Reluctant Dragon and were given short explanations of target words; other students just listened to the stories; and the control group had no exposure to either the stories or the target words. The group that listened to stories and received word explanations learned on average three new word meanings for each of the two books, and a delayed posttest, given six weeks later, showed they remembered six new word meanings.
  48. 48. 36 More recently, Penno, Moore, and Wilkinson (2002) showed that reading aloud and explaining target words contributed significantly to vocabulary growth; however, another factor Repeated Exposure was included. Even though the 47 subjects in this study were described as having English as their first language, Maori was used for 30% of the instruction in one of the classes, implying that some of these participants were multi-lingual. Students' ages ranged from 6 years, 6 months (Class A) to 5 years, 8 months (Class B), and they were at the beginning stages of reading to ensure any vocabulary gains were attributed to listening to stories and explaining words. Anak the Brave and No Place Like Home, two children's books, were chosen because classroom teachers determined they were above the students' reading levels. The interventions included reading aloud the stories along with one of two treatment conditions: (a) word explanations in which the reader used Elley's (1989) in-flight explanations for 10 target vocabulary words, and (b) no explanations. Afterwards, students completed a multiple-choice test for each story and retold the story to the examiner. The results showed a significant interaction between the factors Pre-posttest and Explanation, noting that although Group A and B had similar pretest scores, students in Group A that had stories read aloud to them with in-flight explanations of target words did better on the posttest than Group B (Penno, Moore, &Wilkinson, 2002). On the other hand, some studies have shown that including word explanations may not be more effective than just having students listen to stories. In a study conducted by Senechal and Cornell (1993), four reading conditions were used: (a) questioning where students were asked what and why questions; (b) recasting in which the target words were introduced and then synonyms were given; (c) word
  49. 49. 37 repetition where target-word sentences were repeated; and (d) verbatim in which students listened to the story and were not encouraged to contribute. The results of this study showed the verbatim condition was just as effective for learning target words as recasting and questioning. A limitation, however, was the age of the subjects as they were 4- and 5-year-olds, and this may have been too young to assess accurately the full effectiveness of certain strategies. Results from another study indicated that learning the meanings of target words was equally effective using either read alouds with explanations of words or just reading aloud (Swedberg, 2004). Twenty parent-child dyads from two Montessori schools participated, and prior to the intervention, a multiple-choice vocabulary pretest was given. Then, parents read aloud researcher-simplified sections of an informational text in which 15 target words were explained and 15 were just read, followed by the children answering multiple-choice vocabulary questions. Results showed significant learning occurred because posttest scores were higher than pretest scores; however, greater learning did not occur for words that were explained compared to words that were merely read aloud during the story. Nevertheless, most research that has focused on read alouds with word explanations has shown this strategy to be beneficial. Another instructional practice that has the potential to facilitate vocabulary learning has been the use of orthographic cues to learn words and their meanings, and the following section details various pertinent studies. Orthographic cues. Nation (2001) postulated that English language learners' knowledge of a word involved recognizing what it sounds like, what it looks like, and its
  50. 50. 38 meaning; however, it was the depth of the relationship among these three aspects that determined how quickly words were learned. For second-language learners, possibly hearing and seeing the spellings of target words—what words sound and look like—may be a value-added effect in order to connect them with their meanings for later retrieval. Additionally, these skills can be improved and reach the level of monolinguals (August & Shanahan, 2008). Extensive research regarding the value of orthography was conducted by Ehri and Wilce (1979). In four experiments, they found "spellings are effective because they provide readers with orthographic images useful for symbolizing and storing sounds in memory" (p. 26). In Experiment 1, 48 students in Grades 1 and 2 were taught four different paired-associate sound learning prompts, one of which was the initial letter sound of a word accompanied by its spelling. Results of post hoc pairwise comparisons revealed this pairing allowed for significantly faster learning over other prompts—squiggles, initial letters, and initial letters with misspellings. The researchers also conducted a correlational study to explore the relationship between students' performance on sound learning tasks and their knowledge of printed language. While cause and effect cannot be determined using correlational studies, the results showed that to explain the variability in the knowledge of printed language for beginning readers, the use of spellings to remember oral sounds was an independent factor up and beyond general learning-memory ability. Experiment 2 included 30 students in Grade 1 and replicated the procedures in the first experiment except the prompt of initial letter sounds with misspellings was not
  51. 51. 39 included and two measures were added: (a) naming accuracy and speed for letters of the alphabet, and (b) phonemic segmentation. Results of post hoc tests confirmed the findings in Experiment 1 that beginning readers learned words significantly faster with spelling aids versus no spelling aids, and learning occurred more quickly when initial letters were used rather than squiggles. Of particular interest in Experiment 2, though, was the distinction between less advanced and more advanced beginning readers and their capability to use orthographic mnemonics. The researchers compared the reading skills of children who benefited from spellings with those who did not benefit from spelling aids. Results of / tests showed beginning readers who were advanced in their spelling-aided sound capability had better basic reading skills compared to beginning readers who were less advanced in their spelling-aided sound capability. These findings supported the researchers' assumptions that there was a strong relationship between orthographic memory and learning to read, and "when children learn to read, they acquire an orthographic mnemonic system, and this capability enables them to build up a repertoire of printed words in lexical memory" (Ehri & Wilce, 1979, p. 33). For Experiment 3, the researchers explored the possibility of alternative explanations regarding the influence of spelling, such as repetition, additional rehearsal, segmented pronunciations, and a nonvisual feature of letters. This was done to further support their hypothesis that recalling words visually was superior to other methods. One of the independent variables was Condition with four levels, including visual spellings, oral spellings, phonetic segmentation, and repetition. An analysis of variance showed a main effect for Condition, F(3, 69) = 10.13,/? < .01; a main effect for Trial, F(6, 138) = 76.21,p < .01.; and an interaction effect between Condition and Trial,
  52. 52. F(18, 414) = 2.33, p < .01. Post hoc tests revealed the mean value for visual spellings (M= 2.24) was superior to the other three levels that had fairly similar means (oral spellings, M = 1.53; phonemic segmentation, M= 1.55; and repetition, M= 1.43). This demonstrated that over time beginning readers' recall using visual spellings increased when compared to the other conditions. Another aspect in Experiment 3 concerned whether spelling coupled with other kinds of stimuli in paired-associations affected recall. The condition initial letters plus correct spellings was replaced with numbers plus correct spellings to determine if there was an inherent relationship between the stimuli and responses. Providing spellings increased recall regardless of the stimuli (numbers), and the researchers noted that "what is important about spellings is not their ability to connect responses to stimuli (i.e., to facilitate the associative phase of learning) but their capacity to improve response learning" (Ehri & Wilce, 1979, p. 35). In the final experiment of Ehri and Wilce's (1979) study, the researchers hypothesized that spellings facilitated recall because they prompted the formation of orthographic images of the sounds, which were stored in beginning readers' memories. To explore this, students in Grade 2 were given two conditions: (a) image formation, in which oral spellings were coupled with images of the spellings; and (b) repetition, in which sounds were rehearsed several times. One of the independent variables of the ANOVA was Task (image versus repetition), and results showed a significant main effect for this factor, F{, 16) = 4.73, p < .05, indicating the use of sounds coupled with the images of spellings was superior to repeating the sounds. Ehri and Wilce (1979) provided these conclusions from the four experiments:
  53. 53. 41 1. For beginning readers, there was a mnemonic value regarding orthography. Sounds that were coupled with spelling aids (visual or imagined) were learned faster. 2. Visual representation of spellings facilitated recall. In the third experiment, hearing letters named was less effective than seeing the letters, and in the fourth experiment, hearing the letters improved students' sound memory when they were coupled with visual images. 3. Beginning readers had the capability to generate alphabetic images to map sounds, and they utilized this when needed. In the first three experiments, participants were simply shown the spellings of words either before or after pronouncing the sounds; there was no explicit teaching of how sounds could help them remember the spellings. Nevertheless, they most likely used the spellings to recall the sounds. 4. Central to learning to read was the skill of using spellings to remember sounds. Experiments 1 and 2 showed this skill delineated between less- and more-advanced beginning readers. Ehri and Wilce (1979) concluded, "The orthographic mnemonic explanation for the facilitative effects of spelling aids is the one favored by present findings" (p. 37). In a recent study, Rosenthal and Ehri (2008) concluded the orthographic cue spelling was a means to increase students' memory of word pronunciations and meanings. In the second of two experiments, 32 participants in Grade 5 were randomly assigned to a counterbalanced design in which one set of target words was taught with spellings and the other set without spellings. During the trial study, students were introduced to target
  54. 54. 42 words using these methods: (a) showing a picture of the word, (b) hearing the word pronounced along with it embedded in a definitional sentence, and (c) repeating the word and the sentence. Then, students were given five to eight opportunities to learn the words and their meanings. The main effect of Condition (spelling aids versus no spelling aids) was significant, F(, 28) = 33.56, p < .05, indicating the benefit of having students see the spelling of words. These research studies have provided the rationale for assuming that an orthographic cue may be a value-added strategy for English language learners to learn words and their meanings. Conclusion In light of the theoretical framework detailed in the first section of this chapter and substantiated in the second section using pertinent research studies, the purpose of this study was to determine if the instructional practice of read alouds coupled with word explanations and an orthographic cue significantly increased vocabulary learning for English language learners.
  55. 55. 43 Chapter 3 Method Introduction This chapter addresses the methodology for conducting this study. Included are the design, the sampling procedure, and a description of the participants. The processes for selecting reading materials, choosing target words, and generating the researcher-created vocabulary pretest and posttest are described. Additionally, the procedure for conducting the intervention is explained. Research Design In the interest of improving vocabulary learning for English language learners, the researcher chose to create an intervention with multiple treatment levels and to administer a vocabulary pretest and posttest. By definition, this kind of research was considered experimental because the independent variable was manipulated; however, because the participants were not randomly selected, it was considered quasi-experimental (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). An important aspect of the research design was having all participants receive all levels of the intervention and measured repeatedly. This meant the means that were subsequently analyzed were derived from the same participants. Table 2 shows the assignment of participants using a repeated-measures method (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001).
  56. 56. 44 Table 2 Assignment of Participants in a Repeated-Measures Method Condition Read/Explain/Spell Read/Explain Read Pi Pi Pi Participant P2 P2 P2 P3-50 P3-50 P3-50 Note. P = Participant. #=50. Sampling Procedure A convenience sampling was used in this research study for various reasons: (a) English language learners, a special population, were needed for the purpose of the study; (b) some data needed to analyze the descriptive statistics were available in the district; (c) the sample population was located in multiple locations; and (d) seven sessions were needed, so it was most feasible to have the participants located near the researcher (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). The researcher submitted a comprehensive proposal to the school district's Director of Research and Evaluation who met with district-level cabinet members and personnel in the Office of Teaching and Learning to discuss the feasibility of conducting this study; they approved the research study, and the researcher signed a contract with the district that required adherence to ethical principles for conducting research. Then, the sampling process began with meeting potential participants to explain the Informed Consent document, the permission slip. The researcher read it aloud in its entirety and
  57. 57. 45 answered questions so students understood their participation was voluntary and their classroom grades would not be affected. Also, it was explained that scores on their vocabulary questions and responses on their survey would be kept confidential. The researcher provided each potential participant with two copies of the Informed Consent as stipulated by the school district. Students discussed the form with their parents or guardians, and if they agreed to allow their child to participate, the parents or guardians signed one copy and had their child return it to the researcher and kept the other copy at home for reference. The researcher paid a locally owned interpreting service $376.80 to have the consent form translated into Spanish and Tagalog, the two most commonly spoken languages, for parents or guardians who did not understand English. Because the participants received all levels of the intervention rather than one level, they were required to participate more extensively. To alleviate the possibility of becoming discouraged throughout the study, the researcher scheduled intervention sessions over the course of 7 weeks with each session lasting 15 to 20 minutes. In light of using a convenience sample, the researcher took extensive precautions to distribute equitably the target words across the three levels of the factor Condition based on word difficulty using pretest scores. Also, the researcher thoroughly randomized the order in which words were presented on the vocabulary pretest and posttest. Participants In the state where this study was conducted, the target population included English language learners in the Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program. For the
  58. 58. 46 2004-2005 school year, this included an enrollment of 87,343 students, which was nearly 10,000 more students than the previous year (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007). The accessible population, however, was 52 English language learners in Grades 5 through 9 from a school district with a population of nearly 14,000 students. Of these students, one was absent during the entire study and was removed. Another student returned the Informed Consent, but was absent for most of the intervention sessions and was removed. Therefore, 50 participants completed the study. The descriptive statistics for these students are detailed in Chapter 4. Materials Deciding which texts to read aloud required a thoughtful process for various reasons. Selecting text that was either fiction or non-fiction was of concern because some students may have found reading informational text about cultures more appealing than a fictional piece about unicorns, and possibly one format provided more contextual support. The researcher did not administer a reading interest survey prior to the study, so knowledge of this kind was not available. It has been found, however, there has been "no consistent difference between the narrative and expository texts either in the absolute level of contextual support or in the range of levels of support, as reflected in the standard deviations" (Nagy, Anderson, & Herman, 1987, p. 264). Proficiency levels of the participants were potentially problematic because some students had been in the United States less than six months, whereas others had lived here 10 or more years. Since they must take state- and federally mandated assessments even if they do not have proficiency levels to be able to read and to understand cognitively
  59. 59. challenging vocabulary, using texts from these assessments was of interest because it has been an underrepresented aspect in second-language research. Therefore, stories that had reading levels appropriate for students in Grades 5 through 9 were selected. Four reading passages that were released items from a statewide annual assessment were chosen, and they represented variety of fiction and nonfiction, including two at a sixth-grade reading level and two at an eighth-grade reading level: 1. "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose" was a story that described how a pack rat took items to build its den. 2. "The Flame of a Candle" was a tale in which Hodja, the main character, bragged to his friends that he was able to endure bitterly cold nights outside, so they challenged him to do so. 3. "To Reach the Promised Land" was a biography that chronicled the obstacles Booker T. Washington overcame in order to reach his dream of receiving an education. 4. "Waste Not, Want Not" was a personal narrative written by Earl M. Weber who detailed his experiences during the Great Depression of the 1930s (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2006). Selection of Target Words Determining which target words to use from the four reading passages was challenging. McKeown and Beck (2004) maintained there was neither a formula nor principles that determined which words were the most age-appropriate even though word inventories, such as fifth-grade words, existed. Stories that had controlled vocabulary may not have provided students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to learn
  60. 60. 48 academically challenging words; instead, it was recommended to use grade-level texts as they provided a continuum of words (Nagy & Herman, 1987). Because of this, target words were selected by using a web-based readability analysis and input from 20 educators. First, the four reading passages were typed into the Dale-Chall Readability Test using a web-based program called Intervention Central (n.d.). On the readability analysis printout, difficult words were italicized. Basically, words that were identified as difficult were ones that did not appear on the Dale-Chall list. These difficult words were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and were given a value of 1 in each cell. More data were needed to select the target words so the four reading passages were sent to current and retired teachers, all of whom have taught core curriculum. For each of the passages, the researcher asked them to circle 10 to 15 words they thought were difficult for English language learners. Of the 22 teachers who were sent the readings, 20 returned their forms, some of whom circled as few as 2 and as many as 36 words per reading passage. To rectify this discrepancy, two analyses were conducted. In analysis 1, every word teachers chose received 1 point, designated by the value of 1 in each spreadsheet cell. This meant that despite one teacher circling only 2 words and another teacher circling 36 words in a reading passage, every word received 1 point. The words were then sorted by the total column in descending order, and those that received the most tallies were considered the most difficult. Analysis 2 used an item-weighted approach in which each word received a weighted score. First, a weight-per-word was calculated for each teacher based on 12.5 (the average number of words he or she was supposed to circle) divided by the total
  61. 61. number of words that teacher actually circled. Then, for each word the teacher chose, this weighted number was entered into the spreadsheet, and a new weighted score was calculated. The words were sorted by the total column in descending order, and those that received the most tallies were considered the most difficult. Even though a comparison of the two analyses showed minimal discrepancy between these approaches for choosing the target vocabulary words, the item-weighted approach was selected because this method ensured equity among the teachers' choices for the most difficult words. Measures Vocabularypretest. A researcher-created vocabulary pretest was generated using guidelines from Laufer (1997); McKenna & Stahl, 2003; McKeown, Beck, & Kucan (2005); Nation (2001); Read (2000); and "Test and Item Specifications for Grades 3-High School Reading WASL" (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2006). The process for determining whether to use a multiple-choice, cloze procedure, or another testing format was based on Read's (2000) three dimensions for second-language assessment: (a) construct—discrete to embedded; (b) range—selective to comprehensive; and (c) context—independent to dependent. Regarding the first dimension, it was of interest to create a vocabulary test that measured, as closely as possible, a construct separate from other constructs. Thus, it was necessary to create a discrete test rather than one in which a construct was embedded. Read identified three purposes for designing discrete vocabulary tests: (a) for researchers to understand vocabulary knowledge and how it is acquired; (b) for teachers and language testers to assess progress, measure achievement, and determine proficiency; and (c) for decision
  62. 62. 50 makers regarding program evaluation. This study focused on the second aspect of designing discrete vocabulary tests: to measure the progress or success of learning new target vocabulary words after receiving various instructional interventions. The second dimension to consider was the range of vocabulary used for the assessment. In this study, the vocabulary was considered selective because pre-determined target words were used. The third dimension was determining the role context played in the assessment. In light of the desire to measure vocabulary learning using specific instructional practices, the target words in the assessment needed to be independent, which meant context on the assessment had to be minimized. The most appropriate option to operationalize these three assessment dimensions was a multiple-choice test. Read (2000) preferred having three target words (1,2, 3) listed, and then having students choose the answers from five possible choices (A, B, C, D, E). The researcher believed this format had the potential to give students an opportunity to use a process of elimination. For example, if a student knew two of the three words, their corresponding answers could have been eliminated, thereby making the task of answering word 3 easier. Therefore, a different format was used because each target word needed to be measured separately in order to assess accurately the effectiveness of the instructional intervention. Each target vocabulary word had its own set of four choices (A, B, C, D). To create the multiple-choice selections (A, B, C, D) for each of the 48 target words, the researcher used three guidelines based on recommendations of second-language experts:
  63. 63. 51 1. The four choices had to be easier than the target word. If the words for the definition were more difficult than the target word, they were not appropriate (McKeown, Beck, & Kucan, 2005). This was particularly crucial when creating second-language assessments (Read, 2000). 2. The four choices had to be plausible (Nation, 2001). This was important because if the three distracters were either nonsensical or unrelated, some participants may have been able to choose the correct answer by virtue of elimination. For ELLs, though, this may not have been the case because they may have thought they knew certain words when, in fact, they did not know them, or there were words that were impossible to guess (Laufer, 1997). 3. The definitions needed to be "specific, direct, unambiguous, and simple. The 'Goldilocks principle' may apply here—not too much, not too little, but just right" (Nation, 2001, p. 83). Using this framework, the researcher created the correct answer and three distracters for each of the 48 target words. First, potential choices for the correct answer were found using dictionaries that were at the level of the learners, especially second- language learners (Read, 2000); however, it was also necessary to reference other dictionaries: (a) Scholastic Children's Dictionary (SCD) (Macy, 2002); (b) Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (WCD) (Bethel, 1959); and (c) Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms (WDS) (Gove, 1968). If a word in the dictionary definition was on the General Service List (GSL) or the Academic Word List (AWL), it became a potential correct answer. For example, to create the correct answer for the target word necessities, SCD and WCD provided potential choices—words that were easier than the target word,
  64. 64. 52 plausible, and specific. Those choices were narrowed further using the GSL and AWL, creating the correct answer: things you need or must have. Second, three distracters for each target word were created using the GSL and the reading text (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2007; Read, 2000). Once again, the distracters had to be easier than the target word, plausible, and specific. For example, to create the distracters for the target word seldom, three words that were easier than the target word, plausible, specific, text based, and found on the GSL were used: (a) carefully, (b) always, and (c) almost. Third, the correct answer and the three distracters for each of the 48 target words had to be assigned a specific multiple choice (A, B, C, or D). To do so, the researcher used a web-based randomizing sequence program. Finally, the overall order of the 48 multiple-choice items was randomized using the same web-based program. The pretest was given to the participants and scored by the researcher in which 1 point was given for each correct answer and 0 points for incorrect answers or no answer. The results determined which target words were most difficult for the participants. Vocabularyposttest. Creating a posttest for each of the four readings followed a structured process, and "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose" has been used as an example. First, the 12 target words were ranked from most difficult to least difficult using pretest scores. The three least difficult (most known) words were deleted, leaving nine target words. Second, these nine words were analyzed for contextual support, examined for frequency, and compared with the teachers' choices. This proved, however, to create many inconsistencies, so ultimately the pretest scores were the main determiner for ranking the words from most to least difficult.
  65. 65. 53 Third, the nine target words were distributed among three columns that did not have Condition factor levels assigned to them. Using a basic Latin-square sequence design (LSD), the three most difficult target words were distributed among three columns. For "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose," the most difficult words were abandoned, insulated, and generation, and they were distributed among the three columns using the first LSD sequence 1, 2, 3. This meant abandoned was placed in column 1, insulated in column 2, and generation in column 3. The third- to sixth-ranked target words gnawing, pantry, and appealing were distributed among the three columns using the second LSD sequence 2, 3, 1. This meant gnawing was placed in column 2, pantry in column 3, and appealing in column 1. The seventh- to ninth-ranked target words obvious, legend, and dynamite were distributed among the three columns using the third LSD sequence 3,1,2. Thus, obvious was placed in column 3, legend'in column 1, and dynamite in column 2. This process ensured there was an equitable distribution of words across the three columns based on levels of difficulty. Fourth, a web-based random sequence generator was used to assign one of the three levels of the factor Condition to each of the columns. The random sequence was 3, 2, 1 so the first level of Condition (Read/Explain/Spell) was assigned to column 3; the second level of Condition (Read/Explain) was assigned to column 2; and the third level of Condition (Read) was assigned to column 1. At this point, the nine target words had been assigned to one of three columns using a LSD, and the three Condition levels (Read/Explain/Spell, Read/Explain, and Read) had been assigned to the columns using a web-based randomizing program; however, the order in which the nine target words appeared on the posttest had not been
  66. 66. 54 determined, so further randomization was needed. To do so, a four-step process was followed using a web-based randomizing program. Once again, "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose" has been used as an example: 1. The three target words for the Condition Read/Explain/Show were randomized 2, 1,3. This meant generation was second in the word order, pantry was first, and obvious was third. 2. The three target words for the next Condition Read/Explain were randomized 3,2, 1. This meant insulated was third in the word order, gnawing was second, and dynamite was first. 3. The three target words for the third Condition Read were randomized 2, 3, 1. This meant abandoned was second in the word order, appealing was third, and legend was first. 4. Then, the entire group of nine target words was randomized 3, 6, 5, 1, 8, 2, 4, 7, 9. This meant the final word order on the posttest was as follows: dynamite, insulated, panty, legend, obvious, generation, abandoned, gnawing, and appealing. The above process was repeated for the other three reading passages. To determine if the target words had been equitably distributed among Read/Explain/Spell, Read/Explain, and Read, the researcher conducted a test of within-subjects contrast, and Condition was not significant, F(l, 49) = .014,p = .908, indicating the target words had been equitably distributed.
  67. 67. 55 A posttest of nine items was given to the participants following each of the four readings (see Table 3). It was scored by the researcher in which 1 point was given for each correct answer and 0 points for either incorrect answers or no answer.
  68. 68. 56 Table 3 Posttest Target Words Matchedfor Difficulty Using Pretest Scores Condition Read Reading Explain Read Passage Spell Explain Read generation pantry obvious scoffed mightily convinced pored devoted henceforward parcels darned seldom insulated gnawing dynamite muezzin boasted endure furnace resolved critically calico tweed mortgage abandoned appealing legend flickering bitterly assured stagecoach practical proclaim vague muslin economic Note. a "Stop, Thief! There's a Pack Rat on the Loose".b "The Flame of a Candle".c "To Reach the Promised Land".d "Waste Not, Want Not". Test reliability. The reliability of a test has been based on the classical test theory that has included three assumptions: (a) every subject has a true score, which in this study
  69. 69. 57 is the actual amount of vocabulary learning as measured by the posttest; (b) any test has some amount of measurement error; and (c) this error is assumed to be random. The reliability of a test has been estimated using four methods: (a) alternate-form, (b) test-retest, (c) internal consistency, and (d) inter-tester (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). However, these methods were either inappropriate or impractical for this study. There was no alternate form of the test. Test-retest was not a suitable method because the participants not only saw the target words on the pretest, but also heard them during the readings. Additionally, they heard in-flight definitions and saw the spellings of some target words, which could have given them further opportunities for learning. There could have been one possibility of using the test-retest method if there had been other participants, but 50 of the 52 accessible students participated in the study. Because these reliability methods were problematic, the use of conventional quantitative measures was not appropriate; instead, the process for creating a vocabulary multiple-choice test followed precedent. The researcher used well-established, long-standing principles to construct the individual multiple-choice test items, detailed earlier in this chapter. Procedures The first session was explained in a previous section as it involved the sampling process of gaining permission from parents or guardians to have their children participate in the study. At the beginning of the second session, the researcher explained the procedure for answering the vocabulary questions on the multiple-choice pretest by using an example that was printed at the top of the students' forms. The participants completed the pretest in which they answered 48 multiple-choice vocabulary questions. There were

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