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Preschool Vocabulary

How does explicit teaching of vocabulary impact oral language skills?

Melissa Hartwell

on 12 August 2014

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Transcript of Preschool Vocabulary

What we know
Reading & Writing is imperative
for future academic success
Student 1 (uninterested)
Vocabulary & Oral Language
Who am I?
What impact did vocabulary instruction have on oral language skills?
did POSITIVELY impact language
unable to determine if gain was from instruction, shared reading, or more teacher time.
behaviors and attitudes towards reading and books were drastically improved
Student to Student
by: Melissa Hartwell
Low SES-Low Vocabulary
short study (6 weeks)
validity/reliability unknown
natural maturation
regular class w/ small group time
Read an article for an Alt. Cert. class discussing preschool vocabulary skills in poverty students.
Students had no interest in books & didn't know what to do with them.
What will the impact of
explicit vocabulary instruction
through shared reading be on
preschool students' oral
language skills?
Wife and Mom
5 years-all Title I
3 years Kn & 2 in Pre-K3
I noticed:
my family
& friends children were
compared to my students.
Young students who lack strong oral vocabulary skills may later struggle with reading difficulties.
Listening and speaking requires a varied vocabulary to understand and communicate with others, these are the language skills that set the foundation for reading success (Kleeck & Schuele, 2010).
1/2 to 1/3 vocabulary compared to peers (American Educational Research Association, 2009)
"It is noted that children raised in
have different opportunities for word learning,
fewer resources
in their homes, and often have parents focused on daily
concerns that limit interaction with their children." (Jalongo & Sobolak, 2011)
Students need:
Oral Language
Understand talk
Understand text
Many early childhood programs and educators spend no time or little time directly teaching vocabulary (Jalango & Sobolak, 2011; Neuman & Dwyer, 2009; Ruston & Schwanenflugel, 2010).
Children from poverty are "highly responsive" to literacy skill interventions (Girolametto, Weitzman & Greenberg, 2012).
How can I, the preschool teacher, get my students who come from a poverty background to where they need to be so they can start Kindergarten on the same level as their peers?
Teacher centered
Student Centered
Interventions during
child-initiated conversations
Proximity to students
Lack of vocabulary instruction in programs.
(quality vs. quantity)
-Less than 1% of preschool teachers talk time is spent directly teaching the meaning of words. (Ruston & Schwanenflugel, 2010)
Shared reading
Hands-on approach
Re-casting student talk
Rare-word use
Open-ended questions
-3 Pre-K students
-Title I school
-lowest language score on mid-year BRIGANCE
-Comprehension Rubric
-Expressive Language Rubric
Comprehension Rubric
-correct answer to questions
-Mean Length of Utterances
-Number of words with 3 or more syllables
-Correct Sentence Structure
-Number of Descriptive words
-Length of time to tell the story
-Mean Length of Utterances
-Number of words with 3 or more syllables
-Correct Sentence Structure
-Number of Descriptive words
Expressive Language Rubric
-Teacher observation
-Daily intervention, 10-15 minutes
-6 weeks
-4 days a week for intervention
-once a week for assessment
-shared reading in small group
-one book/week; 3 new words/week
Student 2 (the baby)
Student 3 (street smart)
-well behaved, confused when asked questions, inattentive during whole group
-1 working parent, involved, educated, comes prepared
-good behavior, often sick, poor attendance, uses baby talk
-single stay-at-home mom, mom not highly educated or receptive to teacher, student often come dressed inappropriately
-poor behavior, often physical, refuses to follow directions, poor attendance
-working mom, often with dad or grandparents, rarely comes prepared, inattentive during whole group
Total score: pre-test 35 pts (47%) to post 47 pts (64%)
-Language use (32 possible): pre-test 19 pts to post 22 pts
-Reading (42 possible): pre-test 16 pts to post 25 pts
Greatest gains:
-sharing personal experiences
-using varied vocab
-listening to books (whole group)
-reading books (alone or with friends)
-remembering story lines or characters
-recognizing letters
Minimal gains
Positive gains on MLU
Total score: pre-test 34 pts (46%) to post 49 pts (66%)
-Language use (32 possible): pre-test 19 pts to post 26 pts
-Reading (42 possible): pre-test 15 pts to post 23 pts
Greatest gains:
-varied vocabulary
-remembering story lines or characters
-reading books alone or with others
Positive gains:
-sharing personal experiences
-pattern of asking questions
-use of talk while pretending
-understandability when speaking to adults
-comprehending stories in small group
Loss in MLU but gains in descriptive words and correct answers
Several gains
Total score: pre-test 25 pts (34%) to post 41 pts (55%)
-Language use (32 possible): pre-test 11 pts to post 21 pts
-Reading (42 possible): pre-test 14 pts to post 20 pts
Greatest gains:
-willingness to start conversation
-pattern of asking questions
-listening to stories whole group
-remembering story lines or characters
-reading alone or with friends
Positive gains:
-sharing personal experiences
-using varied vocabulary
-understandability when speaking to adults
-comprehending stories in small group
-Drop in MLU
-gain in structure of sentences
Several gains
ENJOYMENT of reading
More time
better skills
How much gain was from
shared reading
vs. vocabulary

Would students improve with more
teacher time

How much did
natural maturation
Based on research: "Students in poverty may need
additional time interacting with educators
through these modes to improve their oral vocabulary to help them start on target with their peers."
Based on observation: "Students didn't seem to care what we were learning, they
personal attention
from the
Food for thought
Student to teacher interaction= growth?
Teacher "playing" creates incidental learning?
-limited due to schedule
-limited due to required tasks/assessments
-needed for enjoyment of language
Bigger picture:
Teachers must be there for the language-rich experiences and social needs, not just checklists and data binders.
Student 2
Student 3
Student 1
Full transcript