Teaching students to name photographs of grocery items


Four elementary grade students with moderate mental retardation


Twenty-six photographs of common grocery items were trimmed and attached to white index cards. One instructional session each week for each student was held. Each student was taught one set of three photographs, in random order, during each session. For each of the three photographs, five trials were taken. No picture was shown three times consecutively. After being shown the picture, a student was asked "What type of (dairy/meat/frozen) food is this?", instead of just "What type of food is this?" In this way, the students learned not only the particular food item, but also to what grouping it belonged. Progressive time delays were used in this study. For example, during the first session, the teacher used a 0-second delay interval by immediately delivering a prompt. In consequent sessions, the interval was increased one second each time, until an eight second interval was reached. The instruction ended when the student could respond 100% of the time without a prompt. The learning was applied at a familiar grocery store where the students could recognize the foods and food groupings they had learned in a similar manner.


The percentages of target foods and nontarget food groups that students could correctly name in a grocery store before the study were compared to the percentages of the correctly named items and groups at the completion of the study.


Doyle, P. M., Schuster, J. W., & Meyer, S. (1996). Embedding extra stimuli in the task direction: Effects on learning of students with moderate mental retardation. The Journal of Special Education, 29 (4), 381-399.


Julie E. Hale, ETSU