The Effect of Increased Vocabulary and Language on Students’ Reading... Johanna Mullally July 2004

The Effect of Increased Vocabulary and Language on Students’ Reading Comprehension
Johanna Mullally
July 2004
The purpose of this study was to examine how exposure to literature and language
through intense vocabulary instruction affects at-risk students’ reading comprehension.
This study was done in the spring of 2004 in a regular education fifth-grade elementary
classroom. The class consisted of twenty-five students, twelve girls and thirteen boys.
All students received whole group and small group instruction which consisted of
phonological awareness, decoding, using the vocabulary words in context, flashcard
drills, teacher reading to students, students reading to teacher, and partner reading.
Vocabulary development consisted of keeping a vocabulary journal, making vocabulary
cards to use as flashcards, writing words in context, and reading the vocabulary words in
context. A pre test was given which consisted of theme-related open-ended and multiple
choice comprehension questions. The post test showed that there was a significant
improvement in reading comprehension, especially with multiple-choice questions.
Further research is warranted to evaluate the long-term effect of vocabulary development
on reading comprehension for at-risk students.