Effect of vocabulary journal writing on foreign language comprehension and vocabulary acquisition

Date of Completion

January 1995


Education, Language and Literature|Language, Modern|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




This study investigated and measured the effects of writing vocabulary journals, a strategy from the CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-Owned Strategies) Program, on reading and listening comprehension and on vocabulary recall among English-speaking students studying Spanish as a second language in three middle schools. It also examined gender as it related to differences in comprehension and vocabulary acquisition levels. A need for research existed in the areas of language two (L2) vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, possible transfers of language one (L1) learning strategies to L2, and the use of language learning strategies among males and females. CRISS strategies deal with L1 learning. Beginning-level foreign language students need strategies to use with independent reading and listening activities, as well as encouragement and confidence that their strategies will facilitate their learning experiences.^ In this study, six classrooms with a sample population of 108 eighth-grade students of Spanish were randomly assigned to the following test conditions: Control groups memorized word lists; Experimental groups wrote vocabulary journals. All students engaged in pre-and posttests of reading, listening, and vocabulary comprehension. Treatment and nontreatment students used age and ability-level readings and listening tapes, and completed vocabulary tests, recall tests, open-ended questions, and multiple-choice sentence completions. A Repeated Measures of Analysis of Covariance was used to analyze the effect of the interim treatment on the experimental group's comprehension and vocabulary recall. Differences among levels of the independent variables (treatment/ nontreatment, gender) with relation to the dependent variables (reading and listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition) were determined. An IQ covariate equated the six classroom groups for initial differences. Although experimental group mean scores and female mean scores were somewhat higher on composite reading and listening posttests, with the exception of the vocabulary posttests which favored female performances and the reading multiple choice posttest which favored experimental group performance, no other significant differences were found between the adjusted scores. ^