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Two Approaches to Vocabulary Instruction: The Teaching of Individual Word Meanings and Practice in Deriving Word Meaning from Context

Jenkins, J.; Matlock, B.; Slocum, T.
This study compared the effectiveness of two approaches to vocabulary instruction with 135 5th grade students in the U.S. One approach focused on direct instruction of the individual meanings of a set of unfamiliar words. The other approach focused on teaching students to derive word meaning from the context of the sentence instead of teaching specific meanings. Each approach was implemented with low, medium, and high levels of practice. Posttests were administered to measure student’s development in specific word meanings taught and their ability to determine meanings of unknown words. Results indicated training in individual meanings successfully taught specific word meanings and instruction in deriving meaning increased students’ ability to determine word meanings. Increased practice on individual word meanings led to increased mastery. Training in deriving meaning was effective with medium and high levels of practice, but not with low levels of practice. Additionally instruction in individual meaning showed greater achievement than instruction focused on deriving meaning at all levels of practice for learning specific words. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
Vocabulary instruction; word meanings; California Achievement Test; Reading Mastery; SCANR
Reading Research Quarterly
Design type:
Randomized Experiment
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Elementary students
Other tags:
Vocabulary instruction, word meanings, direct instruction, California Achievement Test, Reading Mastery, SCANR
Pacific Northwest, suburban school district

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