Effects of Morphological Instruction on Vocabulary Acquisition

The study investigated the effectiveness of an intervention targeting morphological word structure on students' vocabulary knowledge. The intervention program used a guided problem-solving approach and sets of morphologically related words to teach students how the structure of words provides cues to word meaning. Students in the experimental group participated in three to four 50-minute lessons weekly for a total of 20 lessons, while the control group participated in instruction as usual. The study included 81 fourth- and fifth-grade students from two public Catholic schools near Kingston, Ontario. One school was suburban, while the other was in a small town. Results showed that the intervention had a significant positive effect on students' ability to understand the meaning of words taught directly or words with bases and affixes taught explicitly, which suggested that the intervention helped students make better use of pre-test vocabulary knowledge in learning new vocabulary.

Bowers, P. N., & Kirby, J. R.
Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23(5), 515-537.
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