The Effects of a Vocabulary-Intensive Reading Intervention on the Reading Skills of Grade Two Children

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Rideout, Chez Crossman
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Decades of reading research have produced strong evidence for the importance of explicit reading instruction in all reading components; phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension to develop proficient reading skills (Kim et al., 2020). The critical role of phonological awareness in developing solid reading skills has been well documented (Baker et al., 2018; Kjeldsen et al., 2014), which explains why phonological awareness training is the first and most widely used intervention to improve children’s reading skills. Oral language skills and vocabulary knowledge are also vital factors in reading development (Biemiller, 2012). Research suggests that explicit vocabulary instruction effectively improves language and reading skills (Catts et al., 1999; Stanley et al., 2018). This study examined how a vocabulary-intensive reading intervention affected the reading skills of grade two children. The reading skills examined were phonological processing and awareness, word and nonword reading, reading fluency, and receptive vocabulary. Participants were tested pre- and post-intervention to determine which skills were affected and to what extent. A trained researcher conducted the vocabulary-intensive intervention of between 10 and 30 sessions online. Results indicated no significant differences in mean scores on 13 standardized reading measures from pre-to post- intervention. The changes in reading skills from pre- to post-intervention might have clinical significance within an educational context, as five reading measures' effect sizes were above 0.2. This research aimed to increase knowledge about the effectiveness of vocabulary-based interventions to improve reading skills. This knowledge could inform curriculum decisions regarding preventive vocabulary instruction and remedial intervention.