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Kathy Hirsch

Exploration of Direct Teaching and First-Grade Vocabulary Retention

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Research shows that a student’s vocabulary knowledge in elementary school affects their reading comprehension skills for the remainder of their education.  To further my own teaching, I studied vocabulary intervention lessons and resulting student recall.  How will an efficient and direct lesson on vocabulary prior to a reading class impact a student’s short and long-term vocabulary knowledge?

The participants of the study were six students from my first-grade class.  Data was collected through informal group discussions and formal written assessments immediately and one week post the intervention.  The data revealed that about half of the students learned and retained the new vocabulary knowledge after the intervention as demonstrated through the immediate and delayed assessments.  To assess the students’ knowledge, the students were directed to use the vocabulary words in written sentences.  Mastery of vocabulary was determined if they had used the vocabulary correctly in their sentences.  The research demonstrated that direct instruction of vocabulary prior to a reading lesson resulted in long-term student vocabulary retention.  However, I believe the intervention and assessments used could be improved to result in a higher number of student mastery. 

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