The Elementary School Journal
A proposed avenue for increasing students’ vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is instruction that promotes students’ enthusiasm and attention to words, referred to as word consciousness. This study seeks to investigate, at the utterance level, whether and how word consciousness talk is used in classrooms with young word learners and whether this type of talk is associated with student gains in general vocabulary knowledge. Using videotaped classroom (N = 27) observations, this study found evidence of word consciousness talk, with variability of use across classrooms. Multilevel modeling revealed that this kind of teacher talk—operationalized as reinforcing students’ use of words, affirming students’ recognition of word meanings, and helping students make personal connections to words—was positively associated with student gains in general vocabulary knowledge at the end of kindergarten. Findings from this study can provide guidance for teachers seeking strategies to increase students’ general vocabulary knowledge, beyond words taught.
Gámez, Perla B.; Neugebauer, Sabina Rak; Coyne, Michael D.; McCoach, D. Betsy; Cólon, Ingrid T.; and Ware, Sharon. Promoting Word Consciousness to Close the Vocabulary Gap in Young Word Learners. The Elementary School Journal, 118, 1: 28-54, 2017. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Psychology: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/692986
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