School Psychology Review

Enhancing Teacher Read Alouds With Small-Group Vocabulary Instruction for Students With Low Vocabulary in First-Grade Classrooms

Hank Fien, Lana Santoro, Scott K. Baker, Yonghan Park, David J. Chard, Susanna Williams, and Priti Haria

pp. 307-318

Special Topic: Assessing and Preventing Behavior Difficulties

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Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effect of smallgroup instruction on the vocabulary and comprehension of first-grade students identified with low language and low vocabulary skills. Overall, 102 first-grade students scoring below the 50th percentile on relational vocabulary were blocked by classroom, matched according to vocabulary score, and randomly assigned within the 18 participating classrooms to one of two conditions. All students participated in a whole-class Read Aloud Curriculum and students in the intervention group received small-group instruction for 20 min, 2 times per week, for 8 weeks in addition to the whole-group instruction. The small-group instruction included additional read aloud activities and opportunities to preview, review, and enhance vocabulary instruction aligned with the whole-class Read Aloud Curriculum. Students who received small-group instruction reliably outperformed their controls on vocabulary assessments and expository retells (with effect sizes of 0.57 to 0.66), but not on narrative retells. Findings provide preliminary support for small-group instruction in addition to whole-class read aloud practices for the purpose of increasing vocabulary and expository retelling skills for at-risk first-grade students