Inductive Use of Semantic Word-Families to Accelerate Vocabulary Development and Reading Comprehension in Grades 3-4-5


This study explored the acceleration of student vocabulary growth and reading comprehension proficiency through a multi-part instructional strategy for engendering the inductive, semantic word-family-oriented acquisition of vocabulary from context, a difficult task for elementary students. Implemented on a schoolwide basis for an academic year in grades 3-4-5, the intervention was a four-part enhancement to a traditional basal reading program that constructed and used semantic word families for designated vocabulary words within stories. Results from HLM statistical modeling using student minority status and free/reduced lunch as covariates showed that experimental students in grades 3-4-5 obtained significantly higher achievement on both ITBS Vocabulary and ITBS Reading Comprehension subtests. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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