Enhancing vocabulary intervention for kindergarten students: Strategic integration of semantically-related and embedded word review

Date of Completion

January 2007


Education, Early Childhood|Education, Special|Education, Reading




This study examined the role of judicious word review in enhancing extended vocabulary instruction. Two approaches to systematic, distributed word review were strategically integrated into an 18-week program of extended vocabulary instruction that was implemented with kindergarten students from three high-need urban schools. Target words were randomly assigned to No Review, Embedded Review, and Semantically-Related Review conditions. All target words received extended instruction following initial storybook readings, but only words in the Embedded and Semantically-Related conditions received systematic review in subsequent lessons. In the Embedded Review condition, brief target word definitions were integrated into the narratives of multiple storybooks, allowing for word review during story readings. In the Semantically-Related Review condition, in-depth word review with explicit emphasis on semantic features and associations was provided during extension activities following the readings of several different storybooks. Findings indicated that systematic word review resulted in an almost two-fold increase in target word learning on an expressive measure of target word knowledge. Embedded Review was an effective and time-efficient approach, whereas Semantically-Related Review was more time-intensive, but resulted in higher levels of target word learning. A significant gain was noted in students' average Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III) standard score following the intervention. The average gain on the PPVT-III at posttest was more than ten percentile points, suggesting generalized word learning. Instructional implications, study limitations, and directions for future research are discussed. ^