Enhancing the intensity of vocabulary instruction for preschoolers at risk: The effects of group size on word knowledge and conceptual development

Susan B. Neuman, Tanya Kaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study was designed to experimentally examine how supplemental vocabulary instruction provided in either whole-group or small-group settings influences lowincome preschoolers' word knowledge and conceptual development. Using a within-subject design, 108 preschool children from 12 Head Start classrooms participated in an 8-week intervention, which included four topics of targeted vocabulary instruction counterbalanced in either a whole-group or small-group configuration. Pre- and posttest measures examined children's outcomes in word learning and in conceptual and categorical knowledge. Our results indicated that group size did not appear to be a powerful mechanism for intensifying instruction. Although children gained significantly in word knowledge, concepts, and categories, they did so regardless of whether they were in small or whole groups. Implications for these findings, as well as limitations of the research and directions for future research, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-608
Number of pages20
JournalElementary School Journal
Volume113
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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