Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Cindy D. Jones


Cindy D. Jones


Maria Spicer-Escalante


Lillian Duran


Sarah Clark


Timothy Slocum


This study explored the effect of implementing purposeful and strategic communicative techniques situated in aspects of the communicative approach to language learning when teaching vocabulary from a core reading program to English learners. Given the importance of vocabulary instruction and the widespread use of core reading programs, it is imperative such studies are conducted to determine effective instructional practices of vocabulary with core reading programs for English learners. Participants were 73 fifth-grade English learners nested in classrooms of 11 teachers who were randomly assigned to the instructional treatment group or to the comparison group. Both the treatment and comparison groups were taught vocabulary words from the districtadopted core reading program. The treatment group implemented an intervention specifically designed to teach vocabulary using several methods recommended in the research with the potential to increase vocabulary acquisition of English learners. The methods were used in a communicative approach to instruction, in which oral interaction was a main focus of the treatment. Student vocabulary acquisition was measured with a mastery test administered at the beginning and end of the study and with weekly quizzes. Additional data from classroom observations, teacher logs, and student work were collected on the fidelity of the implementation of the treatment and on the vocabulary instructional strategies used by the comparison group teachers. Linear regression analysis revealed a significant difference in growth of vocabulary skills from pretest to posttest between treatment and comparison groups (p = .001), with students in the treatment group showing greater progress than students in the comparison group. This study confirmed the effectiveness of implementing purposeful and strategic communicative techniques for successful vocabulary acquisition for English learners.



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