Special Issue "Vocabulary Development"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Timothy Rasinski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Teaching Leadership and Curriculum, Kent State University, 404 White Hall, Kent, OH 44242, USA
Interests: reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. William Rupley
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University, MS 4232, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Interests: reading acquisition and development; reading comprehension and text processing; reading in the early grades and reading assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bill Rupley and I are guest-editing a special issue of Education Sciences that will focus on children’s vocabulary development and instruction as it relates to reading. We are looking for both empirical research and conceptual pieces that may advance our thinking in how vocabulary develops in children and how we might best nurture students’ vocabulary development through instruction.

Given your interest and expertise in this area we are delighted to invite you to submit an article for this issue. We define the theme for this issue, vocabulary, is rather broad terms. It can encompass vocabulary development at various ages and stages of development, as well as vocabulary related to specific academic areas (e.g., math vocabulary).

Articles can be any length including references (double-spaced) with a due date of August 1, 2018 for publication in fall, 2018 or spring 2019. You may include co-authors if you wish. If you think you are interested and able to contribute to this issue of Education Sciences, please respond back to us within two weeks and also include a brief description and title of your article. 

Thank you for your consideration of this invitation.  Best wishes and looking forward to hearing from you shortly.

Prof. Dr. Timothy Rasinski
Prof. Dr. William Rupley
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • vocabulary development
  • vocabulary instruction
  • word study
  • comprehension

References:

  1. Goodwin, A.P., & Ahn, S. (2013). A meta-analysis of morphological interventions in English: Effects on literacy outcomes for school-age children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 17, 257-285.
  2. Nagy, W., Carlisle, J., & Goodwin, A. (2013). Morphological knowledge and literacy acquisition. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47, 3-12.
  3. Rasinski, T. V., Padak, N., Newton, J. & Newton, E. (2011), The Latin–Greek Connection: Building vocabulary through morphological study. The Reading Teacher, 6, 133–141.
  4. Schmitt, Norbert (2014) Size and depth of vocabulary knowledge: What the research shows. Language Learning, 64 (4). pp. 913-951. ISSN 1467-9922 

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of the Features of Words That Influence Vocabulary Difficulty
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010008 - 03 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The two studies reported on in this paper examine the features of words that distinguish students’ performances on vocabulary assessments as a means of understanding what contributes to the ease or difficulty of vocabulary knowledge. The two studies differ in the type of [...] Read more.
The two studies reported on in this paper examine the features of words that distinguish students’ performances on vocabulary assessments as a means of understanding what contributes to the ease or difficulty of vocabulary knowledge. The two studies differ in the type of assessment, the types of words that were studied, and the grade levels and population considered. In the first study, an assessment of words that can be expected to appear with at least moderate frequency at particular levels of text was administered to students in grades 2 through 12. The second study considered the responses of fourth- and fifth-grade students, including English learners, to words that teachers had identified as challenging for those grade levels. The effects of the same set of word features on students’ vocabulary knowledge were examined in both studies: predicted appearances of a word and its immediate morphological family members, number of letters and syllables, dispersion across content areas, polysemy, part of speech, age of acquisition, and concreteness. The data consisted of the proportion of students who answered an item correctly. In the first study, frequency of a word’s appearance in written English and age of acquisition predicted students’ performances. In the second study, age of acquisition was again critical but so too were word length, number of syllables, and concreteness. Word location (which was confounded by word frequency) also proved to be a predictor of performance. Findings are discussed in relation to how they can inform curriculum, instruction, and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Observations of Vocabulary Activities during Second- and Third-Grade Reading Lessons
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040198 - 12 Nov 2018
Abstract
Vocabulary instruction is a critical component of language and literacy lessons, yet few studies have examined the nature and extent of vocabulary activities in early elementary classrooms. We explored vocabulary activities during reading lessons using video observations in a sample of 2nd- and [...] Read more.
Vocabulary instruction is a critical component of language and literacy lessons, yet few studies have examined the nature and extent of vocabulary activities in early elementary classrooms. We explored vocabulary activities during reading lessons using video observations in a sample of 2nd- and 3rd-grade students (n = 228) and their teachers (n = 38). Teachers spent more time in vocabulary activities than has been previously observed. In the fall, 28% of their literacy block was devoted to vocabulary in 2nd grade and 38% in 3rd grade. Our findings suggest that vocabulary activities were most likely to take place prior to reading a text—teachers rarely followed-up initial vocabulary activities after text reading. Analysis of teachers’ discourse moves showed more instructional comments and short-answer questions than other moves; students most frequently engaged in participating talk, such as providing short, simple answers to questions. Students engaged in significantly more talk during vocabulary activities (including generative talk such as initiating an idea) in the spring of 3rd grade than the spring of 2rd grade. These data contribute descriptive information about how teachers engage their students in vocabulary learning during the early elementary years. We discuss implications for practice and future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Peer Effects on Vocabulary Knowledge: A Linear Quantile Mixed-Modeling Approach
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040181 - 23 Oct 2018
Abstract
Do your peers in the classroom have an effect on your vocabulary learning? The purpose of this study was to determine if group-level peer characteristics and group-level peer achievement account for individual-level differences in vocabulary achievement using a large sample of students in [...] Read more.
Do your peers in the classroom have an effect on your vocabulary learning? The purpose of this study was to determine if group-level peer characteristics and group-level peer achievement account for individual-level differences in vocabulary achievement using a large sample of students in kindergarten through second grade (n = 389,917). We applied a mixed-modeling approach to control for students nested among peers, and used quantile regression to test if group-level peer effects functioned similarly across the range of conditional student ability in vocabulary knowledge. Group-level peer effects were more strongly related to vocabulary achievement for students at the low end of the conditional distribution of vocabulary. The difference in vocabulary achievement between children with and without an individualized education program increased as quantiles of the conditional vocabulary distribution increased. Children with lower relative fall scores had better spring scores when they were in homogenous classrooms (i.e., their peers had similar levels of achievement). The importance of classroom composition and implications for accounting for peer effects are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Vocabulary Instruction: A Critical Analysis of Theories, Research, and Practice
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040180 - 23 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Much is known about the impact of vocabulary instruction on reading skills, word knowledge, and reading comprehension. However, knowledge of the underlying theories that guide vocabulary instruction and their potential impact on teachers’ performance and/or students’ achievement has not been investigated. In this [...] Read more.
Much is known about the impact of vocabulary instruction on reading skills, word knowledge, and reading comprehension. However, knowledge of the underlying theories that guide vocabulary instruction and their potential impact on teachers’ performance and/or students’ achievement has not been investigated. In this content analysis, articles published in The Reading Teacher and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy between 2007 and 2017 were dissected to identify and code embedded word-learning strategies, grade levels addressed, target student populations, and desired outcomes (receptive or productive vocabulary). Our primary goal was to examine the embedded word-learning strategies within the articles, and to identify the theories on which they were built. Findings showed that a combination of theories guided most strategy recommendations: Social constructivism and sociocultural theories, schema and psycholinguistic theories, motivation theory, and dual coding theory. We also parallel-coded our findings with a recent review of literature on vocabulary instruction by Wright and Cervetti (2017), and found that they corresponded with the original coding. Follow-up quantitative studies can use the salient theories detected in this content analysis to investigate whether knowledge of underlying theories has an impact on teachers’ performance and student vocabulary and reading comprehension achievement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Academic Vocabulary and Reading Fluency: Unlikely Bedfellows in the Quest for Textual Meaning
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040165 - 05 Oct 2018
Abstract
Academic vocabulary is the specialized language used to communicate within academic settings. The Coxhead (2000) taxonomy is one such list that identifies 570 headwords representing academic vocabulary. Researchers have hypothesized that students possessing greater fluent reading skills are more likely to benefit from [...] Read more.
Academic vocabulary is the specialized language used to communicate within academic settings. The Coxhead (2000) taxonomy is one such list that identifies 570 headwords representing academic vocabulary. Researchers have hypothesized that students possessing greater fluent reading skills are more likely to benefit from exposure to vocabulary due to greater amounts of time spent reading (Nagy and Stahl, 2007; Stanovich, 1986). In this study of 138 sixth- and seventh-grade students, we assess academic vocabulary, indicators of fluent reading, and silent reading comprehension to gain insight into relationships between the three. Our results found that reading rate mediates the relationship between academic vocabulary and reading comprehension, accounting for nearly one-third of the explained variance. Using simple slope analysis, we identified a threshold suggesting the point where reading rate exerts a neutral effect on reading comprehension beyond which vocabulary learning is no longer hindered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Teachers as Learners: The Impact of Teachers’ Morphological Awareness on Vocabulary Instruction
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040161 - 28 Sep 2018
Abstract
Academic vocabulary knowledge is central to reading and academic achievement. Largely based in the lexicons of Latin and Greek, academic vocabulary comprises morphemic structures. Many teachers devote little time to focused instruction in this area because they may lack pertinent morphological and pedagogical [...] Read more.
Academic vocabulary knowledge is central to reading and academic achievement. Largely based in the lexicons of Latin and Greek, academic vocabulary comprises morphemic structures. Many teachers devote little time to focused instruction in this area because they may lack pertinent morphological and pedagogical knowledge. This article reports findings from a broader three-year longitudinal qualitative case study that explored the experiences of three elementary teachers who engaged in professional development that included study of the morphemic features of academic vocabulary and instructional techniques. This article describes changes teachers made to practice because of their deeper understanding of Latin and Greek morphology and how to teach it. Data sources included in-depth and semistructured interviews, direct observations of classroom practice, and analysis of instructional artifacts. Data analysis revealed that all three participants moved from teacher-centered, definitional approaches towards instruction that was student-centered and focused on developing metalinguistic awareness. Instructional shifts reflected participants’ new understandings about metalinguistic awareness, student-directed problem-solving, and collaborative talk in vocabulary learning. Instructional shifts address metalinguistic awareness, morphology, word consciousness, and Spanish–English cognate instruction—areas that may be overlooked in many classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Concept Raps versus Concept Maps: A Culturally Responsive Approach to STEM Vocabulary Development
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030108 - 31 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article argues that the development of rap song lyrics or lyrical concept mapping can be a viable pedagogical alternative to the development of concept maps as a means to reinforce STEM vocabulary. Hip-hop pedagogy is a culturally responsive pedagogy that leverages the [...] Read more.
This article argues that the development of rap song lyrics or lyrical concept mapping can be a viable pedagogical alternative to the development of concept maps as a means to reinforce STEM vocabulary. Hip-hop pedagogy is a culturally responsive pedagogy that leverages the funds of knowledge acquired from hip-hop culture. Unfortunately, many students with strong hip-hop cultural identities may lack equally strong mathematics identities. Given the success of hip-hop pedagogies within the science content area, we posit that hip-hop pedagogies are appropriate in other STEM content areas such as mathematics. Concept mapping is an instructional tool that has been empirically validated as an effective means to develop strong conceptualizations of mathematics content. While hip-hop pedagogy is well established in the science content area, it remains underdeveloped within mathematics education. We argue that the lyrical structure of a rap song is fundamentally similar to the structure of a concept map. This article provides a framework to support lyrical concept mapping as a culturally responsive instructional tool that can be used as an alternative to traditional concept mapping. Special attention is placed on the use of hip-hop pedagogy to affirm and empower dually marginalized students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available

Other

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Open AccessCommentary
When Complexity Is Your Friend: Modeling the Complex Problem Space of Vocabulary
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040169 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The history of vocabulary research has specified a rich and complex construct, resulting in calls for vocabulary research, assessment, and instruction to take into account the complex problem space of vocabulary. At the intersection of vocabulary theory and assessment modeling, this paper suggests [...] Read more.
The history of vocabulary research has specified a rich and complex construct, resulting in calls for vocabulary research, assessment, and instruction to take into account the complex problem space of vocabulary. At the intersection of vocabulary theory and assessment modeling, this paper suggests a suite of modeling techniques that model the complex structures present in vocabulary data in ways that can build an understanding of vocabulary development and its links to instruction. In particular, we highlight models that can help researchers and practitioners identify and understand construct-relevant and construct-irrelevant aspects of assessing vocabulary knowledge. Drawing on examples from recent research and from our own three-year project to develop a standardized measure of language and vocabulary, we present four types of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models: single-factor, correlated-traits, bi-factor, and tri-factor models. We highlight how each of these approaches offers particular insights into the complex problem space of assessing vocabulary in ways that can inform vocabulary assessment, theory, research, and instruction. Examples include identifying construct-relevant general or specific factors like skills or different aspects of word knowledge that could link to instruction while at the same time preventing an overly-narrow focus on construct-irrelevant factors like task-specific or word-specific demands. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessConcept Paper
The Vocabulary-Comprehension Relationship across the Disciplines: Implications for Instruction
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030101 - 17 Jul 2018
Abstract
The main purpose of vocabulary instruction is to enhance and support reading comprehension. This goal spans across the grade levels and different disciplines and is supported by a plethora of research. In recent years, a great deal of needed attention has been finally [...] Read more.
The main purpose of vocabulary instruction is to enhance and support reading comprehension. This goal spans across the grade levels and different disciplines and is supported by a plethora of research. In recent years, a great deal of needed attention has been finally given to academic vocabulary and disciplinary literacy. To contribute to this body of knowledge, we believe it is critical to examine how the complex relationship between vocabulary and comprehension may be addressed in secondary content area classrooms, given the unique nature of the academic vocabulary students encounter daily in school. This conceptual paper contains the following: (1) definition of academic vocabulary; (2) description of what is known about the vocabulary–comprehension relationship; (3) conceptualization of the intersection of academic vocabulary and the vocabulary–comprehension relationship; and (4) instructional implications emerging from this intersection. Perhaps this conceptualization may provide disciplinary practitioners more insight to help them make decisions regarding vocabulary instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development) Printed Edition available
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