In this article by Beck and McKeown, there were two studies conducted. The purpose of the first study was to compare the number of higher-order words learned through direct instruction with those who were not taught the advanced words. Four kindergarten classes and four first grade classes from the same school participated in this study, but they could only collect enough data from 98 children (52 in experimental class rooms). The children who received direct instruction were taught based on a read aloud project, Text Talk. In order for the comparison group to be exposed to the same vocabulary, they participated in daily read alouds. All students were given a pre-test and a vocab post-test. The experiment showed that there was a significant difference in the number of learned vocabulary words between the experimental group that received direct instruction and the comparison group which received no instruction.
The purpose of study 2 was to compare the number of learned vocab words with the amount of time that instruction was given. Three kindergarten classes (36 children) and three first grade classes (40 children) from a different school in the district of the school from the first study participated in the study. All students were African American, and 81% were eligible for free/reduced lunch. Instruction was delivered through Text Talk read alouds, but one group received 3 days of instruction and the others received 6 days of instruction (More Rich). These students were also given pre-tests and post-tests to measure their progress. This study found that more instruction was very beneficial.
Both of these studies show how important it is that we include vocabulary lessons in our curriculum. Not only should we teach and test the vocab, but we should have them “use” it in their writings and in their speech. We can’t just teach these words a couple of times, we must keep reviewing it and practicing them. As i’m sure you have all witnessed, repetition is the key for learning new information, and makes information more likely to be recalled.
All of the models that we have read about thus far mention the importance of vocabulary. It has been proven that students with a richer vocabulary are better readers and can usually comprehend what they read. With all the research conducted about vocabulary, comprehension, and reading, why is a vocabulary lesson not included in our daily schedule? It would only benefit the students.