Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

Committee Member

Janie Hodge

Committee Member

Abigail A Allen

Committee Member

Susan K Fullerton

Committee Member

William Bridges


Vocabulary instruction is often overlooked in preschool and kindergarten. However, the positive impacts of having a strong foundation in vocabulary spill over into children’s later schooling, improving their reading comprehension. Promising effects of audio prompted delivery of vocabulary instruction via storybooks for young children have been reported. For children at-risk for disabilities, from low socio-economic status, or English Language Learners, novel words are not learned incidentally. The present study examined the impact of extended teacher instruction delivered in conjunction with a small-group, automated, vocabulary intervention in classrooms with at-risk kindergarten children. Thirty-seven children were identified by nine classroom teachers as needing supplemental oral language support. Intervention was implemented in small groups for approximately 15 weeks. Results indicated that vocabulary word meanings were learned and maintained better for children who received extended teacher instruction versus those who listened to storybooks via audio prompting alone. Implications for educational research and practice are discussed.



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