Target

Increasing productive vocabulary of common nouns and action verbs

Participants

Preschool children with borderline to mild levels of mental retardation

Technique

Productive vocabulary can be increased by milieu teaching techniques. The teacher begins the intervention by arranging the environment by controlling materials and structuring play to set up opportunities for desired outcomes or target words. The materials selected could vary from dressing a doll, kitchen play, vehicle play and more. The teacher should use frequent and systematic comments and descriptive statements emphasizing the key target words during the intervention session. After the descriptive statement the teacher may follow up with a questioning probe for the target word. For example, the teacher may comment while stirring with a spoon ì Iím stirring with the spoon. See? Stir spoon. Then the teacher could follow up with a probing question ì What do you want to do? ( hopefully eliciting the target word spoon). If targeted response is not elicited the teacher may use a mand type model (ìUse your wordsî) or a more direct model ( ìSay spoonî). The teacher should use at least 8 - 10 target probe questions during each 15 minute training sessions. Training sessions should occur three times weekly.

Evaluation

Obtain baseline data by directly observing and writing down everything that child says in several 15 minute target sessions - noting context of the word use and any unusual word use. Supplement the observations with a cassette recording so that any gaps in transcriptions can later be filled in. Repeat this process during the intervention sessions to determine effectiveness. This technique increased studentís expressive vocabularies a range of 12 to 48 words (baseline) to a range of 46 to 48 words after intervention.

Source

Warren, S. (1992). Facilitating basic vocabulary acquisition with milieu teaching procedures. Journal of Early Intervention, 16 (3), 235-251.

Developer

Mitzi M. Myers, East Tennessee State University


Target

Teaching sight words

Participants

Middle school students with moderate mental retardation and behavior disorders

Technique

The strategy for increasing the sight word vocabulary for the students in this study was to intersperse known items in material to be learned. Three students were selected for the study. The goal was for the students to read the weather words from the newspaper, so the experimenters selected 46 words from the newspaper weather reports (e.g., cloudy, sunny, chance, of, showers, winds, at). Each word was printed on index cards. To prescreen student's knowledge of the words, the teacher asked each student to read each word and recorded the response as correct or incorrect. The prescreening test was given for 3 days. To be known, a word had to be read correctly on all 3 days. To be unknown, the word was not read correctly on any day. From this prescreening, 10 known and 10 unknown words were identified for each participant. A sight word test was conducted just prior to the daily intervention. This test was used for baseline data. During the intervention, known words were interspersed with unknown words, and no more than 3 new words were used in a session. A five-step error correction procedure was used for incorrect or no responses after about 3 seconds on unknown words. First, the teacher said the word correctly. Next, the teacher asked the student to repeat this model while looking at the word, and praised a correct imitation or ignored a refusal to imitate. Third the teacher asked the student to trace each letter while spelling the word aloud. The teacher prompted any unknown letters and praised correct spelling. Then, the teacher used the word in a sentence and stated the word. Finally, the teacher had the student read the word while looking at it. By contrast, if a known word was missed, the teacher simply pronounced it and continued the rapid presentation of flash cards. The interspersal drill gave the students 101 opportunities to read flash cards. The 30 minute session also included a story starter and a generalization probe. The teacher discussed immediate, functional applications of the weather information for the day as a close to the session.

Evaluation

The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated by counting the number of correct responses to the sight word flash cards as well as timed reading probes. The criterion for mastery was 6 of 10 new words, but all 3 students learned the 10 new words in about 2 to 6 weeks of school.

Source

Browder, D. M., & Shear, S. M. (1996). Interspersal of known items in a treatment package to teach sight words to students with behavior disorders. The Journal of Special Education, 29, 400-413.

Developer

Chrystel Bowman, E.T.S.U.


Target

Teaching Sight Words

Participants

kindergarten students with mild disabilities

Technique

This study was done to compare the Language Experience Approach (LEA) to the LEA used with nursery rhymes to teach basic sight words. The LEA is an approach that utilizes the student's own language and experiences to provide students with motivation toward learning to read and demonstrates the connection between spoken and written language. Adding the use of nursery rhymes to LEA increases the opportunity to "read" memorized verse and helps students conceptualize words. This study was conducted with 19 kindergarten students in a self contained class for the educable mentally retarded. During intervention 12 pre-primer Dolch words were selected and matched for size and difficulty. Over a period of five weeks, both groups of words were introduced to the students by using the Talkabout Picture Activity Cards and the language experience approach. The six words in Group I were reinforced using a familiar nursery rhyme along with the language experience approach. After each presentation, the students were shown a flashcard of the word, asked to find it on a chart, asked to circle it on their paper, and write or trace it on their paper. Students participated in other activities using the twelve words such as writing the words in sand, using them in a spelling game, and cut and paste activities. The students in the class learned rapidly, willingly, and enjoyed the nursery rhymes. During independent work activities, students elected to review the nursery rhyme charts, pointing to the words and "reading" them. Enjoying reading and experiencing success was a positive addition for the students involved in this study.

Evaluation

The students were given a pretest and a posttest to determine the effectiveness of the study. Both tests consisted of the teacher using flashcards of the Dolch words studied. The flashcards were presented to each student. The posttest revealed that the mean score for Group I was 4.2 words while the mean for Group II was 2.1.

Source

Rudolph, C., Wood, T. A., & Miller-Wood, D. J. (1990). Teaching basic sight words through nursery rhymes to mildly handicapped kindergarten students. Reading Improvement, 27, 72-80.

Developer

Chrystel Bowman, E.T.S.U.


Target

Determining meanings of unfamiliar words

Participants

Upper elementary grade students who did not have decoding problems but made errors on comprehension items

Technique

In study 1, students were given two multiple-choice tests: a words in isolation test and a words in context test. For the words in isolation test, students were instructed to find the meaning of a low-frequency vocabulary word by selecting a word from a list of possible answers. For the words in context test, students were instructed to find the meaning of a word in a paragraph by selecting a word or phrase from the list of possible answers. In study 2, one group of students were given a set of passages and were told to look at other words in the sentence if the sentence contained an unfamiliar word. A different group of students were given the same set of passages but were not told a rule. The last group of students read the passages without observer intervention. One of these groups did better than the others. Which one? What did the teachers do that made them answer better? Take that technique that was most effective and turn it into a teaching tip.

Evaluation

Record the percentage of correct responses to the words in isolation and the words in context tests.

Source

Carnine, D. W., Kameenui, E., & Coyle, G. (1984). Utilization of contextual information in determining the meanings of unfamiliar words in context. Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 188-203.

Developers

Patricia Luke, and Gregory Wolf, UVA