Date of Award


Degree Type

Certificate of Advanced Study


Connecticut Literacy Specialist


Dr. Karen C. Waters


Beginning with Hart and Risley’s study that brought to the forefront a significant gap in word knowledge in students from a lower socioeconomic status, the importance of vocabulary instruction has been emphasized. Extensive research has long acknowledged that vocabulary knowledge plays a crucial role in reading comprehension. With the rigorous expectations of the CCSS, vocabulary has become an essential component of instruction. Consequently, this study, utilizing social constructivism as the theoretical framework, focused on determining the most effective strategies to enhance vocabulary instruction in order to bridge the gap between students who struggle with vocabulary learning and those who do not. We chose to examine the effect of morphology instruction on students whose limited receptive and expressive language prevented them from making significant gains in comprehension. Fifteen students from grades three and four received explicit instruction in the structure of words for eight weeks. Lessons focused on teaching word parts and reinforcing new words containing these word parts with daily review activities promoting active engagement and word consciousness. Results indicated that morphology instruction had an overall positive impact on word knowledge. The variation in students’ scores may be attributed to the need for additional strategies to be fostered in vocabulary acquisition, including wide reading, interactive read-alouds, and various word-learning strategies, because one strategy alone is insufficient for increasing students’ receptive and expressive vocabulary.


Prepared for EDR 692 Applied Reading and Language Arts Research. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the coursework required for the post-masters' Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Literacy.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
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