Teaching morphemic and contextual analysis to fifth-grade students

The study examined the effectiveness of using morphemic and contextual analysis on vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Students were randomly assigned to groups of morphemic-only instruction, context-only instruction, combined morphemic-context instruction, and instructed control. Each of the three experimental groups received twelve 50-minute lessons on different strategies using an explicit instruction model. Morphemic-only students studied eight frequently occurring prefix families; context-only students studied contextual analysis; morphemic-context group students studied combined morphemic and contextual analysis; and the instructed control group studied vocabulary as usual. The study included 88 fifth-grade students from a diverse racial backgrounds with 56% African Americans, 35% European Americans, and 9% Latino/Asian & Native Americans in a mid-sized community in the southeastern United States. The results showed morphemic and contextual analysis instruction had significant positive impact on students' vocabulary outcomes including lesson words and transfer words but had no impact on comprehension. Using morphemic and context analysis instruction alone or in combination produced similar effects on students' ability to infer word meaning.

Baumann, J. F., Edwards, E. C., Font, G., Tereshinski, C. A., Kame'enui, E. J., & Olejnki, S.
Reading Research Quarterly, 37, 150-176.
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