Comparing effects of instruction on word meaning and word form on early literacy abilities in kindergarten
Number of pages
SourceEarly Education and Development, 30, 3, (2019), pp. 375-399
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
SW OZ DCC PL
Early Education and Development
SubjectLearning and Plasticity; Psycholinguistics
Research Findings: The present study compared effects of explicit instruction on and practice with the phonological form of words (form-focused instruction) versus explicit instruction on and practice with the meaning of words (meaning-focused instruction). Instruction was given via interactive storybook reading in the kindergarten classroom of children learning Dutch. We asked whether the 2 types of instruction had different effects on vocabulary development and 2 precursors of reading ability - phonological awareness and letter knowledge - and we examined effects on these measures of the ability to learn new words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences. Learners showed similar receptive target-word vocabulary gain after both types of instruction, but learners who received form-focused vocabulary instruction showed more gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge than learners who received meaning-focused vocabulary instruction. Level of ability to learn pairs of words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences predicted gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary and in letter knowledge in the form-focused instruction group only. Practice or Policy: A focus on the form of words during instruction appears to have benefits for young children learning vocabulary.
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