Fourth grade (Education), Vocabulary -- Study and teaching


The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if a direct, explicit method of teaching vocabulary with a Vocabulary Scenario Technique-Language Sensitive protocol (VST-LS) would yield gains in the vocabulary knowledge of 4th grade students greater than those seen in 4th grade students receiving vocabulary instruction typical to some general education classrooms. VST-LS is a detailed description of procedures intended to be used by a teacher in a general education classroom for direct vocabulary instruction. The VST-LS protocol provides for 14 word encounters involving listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Forty-one 4 th grade students consisting of 18 males and 23 females participated in the study. All participants were attending a suburban elementary school in a large urban-suburban school district. Two 4th grade teachers at the suburban elementary school agreed to participate in the study. One of the teachers who agreed to participate in the study had previously participated in a Vocabulary Scenario Technique pilot study (Ehren, Zadroga, & Proly, 2010); therefore, her 4 th grade classroom was designated as the treatment group and the second 4th grade classroom was designated as the comparison group. The treatment group received direct vocabulary instruction by a graduate student speech language pathologist (SLP) using the VST-LS protocol. The comparison group received vocabulary instruction by a 4th grade teacher using word study activities typical to some general education classrooms. Both the treatment group and the comparison group were taught 32 preselected curriculum vocabulary words across four consecutive weeks. Eight iv words were taught per week, for four weeks, during three thirty minute instruction periods (dosage = 6 hours). Two pre-test/post-test vocabulary measures, a multiple choice synonym test and a fill-in-the-blank/word-bank sentence test, were used to document both the treatment group and comparison group performances. Both the synonym pre-test and the sentence pre-test were administered to the treatment group and the comparison group one week prior to the commencement of the pilot study. Both the synonym post-test and the sentence post-test were administered to the treatment group and the comparison group one week after the conclusion of the study. A one way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to examine the treatment effects of the VST-LS protocol in comparison to treatment effects of vocabulary instruction typical to some classrooms. The ANCOVA testing indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in post-test scores for both the synonym measure, F(1, 35) = 14.76, p < .001, and the sentence measure, F(1, 34) = 43.66, p < .001, between the treatment condition and the comparison condition, when controlling for pre-test scores on both the synonym measure and the sentence measure. A large effect size was demonstrated, indicated by group, in regard to both the synonym measure, partial η 2 = .30, and the sentence measure, partial η 2 = .56. On average, participants in the treatment condition scored higher on both the synonym measure (M = 24.33, SE = 0.77) and the sentence measure (M = 26.24, SE = 0.76) than did the study participants in the comparison condition (synonym measure: M = 20.14, SE = 0.77; sentence measure: M = 19.03, SE = 0.78). v The result of the VST-LS pilot study indicated that this method of direct vocabulary instruction was more successful in generating vocabulary gains in 4 th grade students than was vocabulary instruction typically seen in general education classrooms. Additionally, the result indicated that the VST-LS protocol has potential as a viable, efficient method for teachers to use when directly teaching curriculum vocabulary words to 4th grade students in general education classrooms. A summary of the findings, limitations of the study, and suggestions for the direction of future research are discussed.


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Graduation Date





Ehren, Barbara


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Program

Communication Sciences and Disorders








Release Date


Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs, Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic