Using Walk Talk Words to improve first-grade students' vocabulary development
Ryan, Tammy Christine
MetadataShow full item record
The formative experiment reported in this dissertation explored how two first-grade teachers implemented a vocabulary intervention, Walk Talk Words, which incorporated storybook read-alouds, nonstorybook activities, and digital technologies with available classroom resources to improve 29 first-grade students’ vocabulary development. During an 8-week intervention phase, the researcher worked with two first-grade teachers through focus group meetings to increase the amount of Tier Two words included in instruction. Tier Two words are shown in previous research to be associated with students’ reading comprehension and academic success. Quantitative baseline data were collected to establish students’ entering vocabulary knowledge. Qualitative data were collected during baseline and intervention phases of the study that focused on how the teachers increased students’ exposure to and interactions with Tier Two words through Text Talk methods and Digital Language Experience Approach (D-LEA) activities. Qualitative data included interviews, focus group meeting videotapes, teacher reflective journal entries, teacher pedagogical vocabulary goal statements, lesson plans, informal discussion with the teachers, classroom observations and field notes, and coded transcripts of lesson videotapes. Inductive analysis and constant comparative methods showed that teachers could implement Walk Talk Words through thematic units using two cycles of implementation: visualizing the walk and creating the talk that engaged students in learning and using Tier Two words through relevant and meaningful experiences. Descriptive analysis revealed that students improved in vocabulary knowledge on PPVT-4 stanine scores. Descriptive analysis also indicated that students learned more Tier Two words when the words were included in D-LEA class books as identified on the teachers’ word knowledge assessment instruments. Important factors that enhanced and inhibited implementing the intervention in the classroom were identified. Implications for further research and classroom practice are discussed. Also discussed is how using a formative experiment in the present study aligned with effective principles of staff development.