The authors of this article wanted to study the effects of vocabulary instructions on word knowledge and reading comprehension among students suffering from different types of learning disabilities.
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The research methodology was experimental in nature and involved three sets of experiments that aimed at measuring the effect the dependent variable (vocabulary instructions) has on the independent variables (word knowledge and reading comprehension). The participants were selected as follows:
|Experiment||No. of participants||Gender of participants||Age of participants||Selection criterion|
|1||12||Eight females and four males||9-10 years old||Performance on a vocabulary screening test for “average” students.|
|2||6||Four 4thand 5thgrade females and two 6thgrade males||10-13 years old||Learning disabled students receiving instructions from a special education resource teacher.|
|3||10 fourth graders||Six males and four females||10-12 years old||Students attending a summer school program for children of economically deprived families.|
This was a controlled experiment in which the researchers designed the condition of the tasks and determined the level of instructions given, as well as the duration each task would take. Experiment 1 and 2 conditions focused on meanings from context, meanings given and meanings practiced.
The experiments used an incomplete randomized block design to measure the variability of the established conditions. Experiment 3 a within subjects design was used. This design gave the participants the ability to act as their own control.
Both designs were very effective in giving reliable results since they called for statistical analysis of the conditions, variables and treatments. In addition, the fact that the experimenters had more control over the experiments meant that the tools used would address specific aspects of the research problem and yield concise results.
The findings from the three experiments can be supported by documented evidence related to this problem. As such, I agree with the results because they give statistical explanation for the theoretic researches that have been conducted and documented by other researchers seeking to find the relationship between the identified variables.
In addition, the target population was heterogeneous, which means that it was carefully selected to adequately represent the larger population. This means that the findings could be used unanimously to solve similar predicaments.
This research gives teachers dealing with students with learning and reading disabilities an opportunity to identify and cater for the specific needs for the students. The results from the experiments are comprehensive and they give the procedures that should be followed in order to get the expected results.
For example, learner type played an important role in determining the time and type of instructions needed by learning disabled students to learn vocabulary, understand meanings and reading comprehension, as compared to normal learners.
Similarly, the findings help special education teachers reevaluate their approach and perception on instructional practices. Using the findings as a guideline, teachers would be able to determine the types of instructions they use when introducing new vocabulary to students.
For example, the findings indicate that direct instruction format is the best to apply when teaching new vocabulary to students who suffer from reading and learning disabilities.
This paper set out to give a review of an article related to teaching students with learning disabilities. To this end, a summary of the article has been provided and a critique of the design used given. Possible applications of the findings in a teaching environment have also been highlighted.
If implemented, the techniques and procedures mentioned in the article may help teachers to understand their students better and provide them with the necessary skills needed to become great readers and learners.