Building vocabulary in early learners
Ruston, Hilary Pringle
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The effects of two different methods of vocabulary instruction, (a) explicit and implicit vocabulary and (b) implicit only vocabulary, on the vocabulary learning strategies of 4 and 5 year olds were examined. For explicit vocabulary strategies, teachers provided definitions and N3C presentations of target words prior to storybook reading and followed the reading with extension activities involving target words. For implicit only strategies, teachers read storybooks interactively and engaged children in conversation. In two studies, analyses showed that children’s ability to use vocabulary learning strategies was unaffected by the strategies that were promoted in the children’s classrooms. Across classrooms, however, children with higher vocabulary levels appeared to benefit from labeling, context and N3C, whereas children with lower vocabulary levels did not benefit from labeling alone, but were better served through the N3C presentation or the storybook context.