The integration of reading vocabulary techniques with scientific terminology in a sixth-grade classroom

Date of Completion

January 2000


Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




As national standards in scientific literacy were established by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993), standardized evaluations revealed that students were experiencing difficulty integrating literacy skills with the reading and writing of content area material (Casteel & Isom, 1994). Further, science teachers are not typically trained to instruct vocabulary development in the content area. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate effects of professional development of an experienced teacher, in an area of vocabulary development in a critical content area. The science teacher received 10 hours of training in specific vocabulary strategies. This training was followed by classroom observations of the science teacher to determine if new strategies for vocabulary instruction were integrated effectively in her content instruction. This study examined the possible impact of instructional modifications on student learning. Examination of the effect on students learning was analyzed by establishing a control and comparison group. The control group received the usual instruction in science and vocabulary; a second Vocabulary Enhanced group received normal science instruction that integrated specialized reading vocabulary skills with science terminology. All subjects (46 sixth graders) took a science unit test before and after the 10 weeks of instruction. An analysis of covariance was utilized to compare posttest achievement scores on the science unit test, using the science pretest scores and reading achievement scores as covariates. The results suggest that the vocabulary enhanced method resulted in these students performing better on the science posttest. Interviews were conducted with the science teacher and selected students and responses were analyzed. This analysis resulted in favorable responses by teacher and students. ^