Effects of instruction in morphology and context on fifth-grade students' ability to derive and infer word meanings

The study assessed the effects of morphemic and contextual analysis strategies embedded within subject instruction on students' ability to learn word meanings and comprehend text. Students in the treatment group received instruction in morphemic and context analysis for vocabulary instruction. The comparison group received business-as-usual instruction (i.e., textbook vocabulary instruction). The study took place in a mid-sized southeastern public school district. The sample included 157 fifth-grade students, of whom 49% were African American,; 37% European American, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% Hispanic, and 3% other race. About 57% of the population was eligible free/reduced lunch. The results indicated that students who received instruction in morphemic and contextual analysis were more successful at inferring meanings of novel-affixed words and morphologically and contextually decipherable words on a delayed test, but not on an immediate test. However, students in the textbook vocabulary group were more successful at learning textbook vocabulary. There was no difference between groups on a comprehension measure.

Baumann, J. F., Edwards, E. C., Boland, E. M., Olejnik, S., & Kame'enui, E. J.
American Educational Research Journal, 40, 447-494.
Related Research
Content Area: 
Grade Level: 
intermediate elementary
Instructional Support: 
opportunities to learn concepts
practice and reinforcement activities
National Reading Panel Standards: 
English Language Arts: 
Reading: Informational Text
Reading: Literature