Improving the Acquisition of Novel Vocabulary Through the Use of Imagery Interventions

Cohen, Marisa; Johnson, Helen
January 2011
Early Childhood Education Journal;Jan2011, Vol. 38 Issue 5, p357
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of imagery interventions on the vocabulary acquisition abilities of second grade students. A total of 15 students were randomly assigned to three different intervention conditions: Word Only, which involves the simple verbal presentation of a vocabulary word; Dual Coding, in which a picture was paired with the vocabulary word, and Image Creation, in which students were told to create a mental picture of the vocabulary word in their mind and draw it on paper. These students were taught a total of 21 vocabulary words: seven animal and habitat words, seven musical instrument terms, and seven science terms. A Latin square design was used, in which each group of students rotated through each of the interventions, being exposed to a different treatment condition for each category of words. Participants were measured on the number of words they were successfully able to acquire through the use of experimenter designed comprehension measures. While no statistical significance was shown between the interventions across the word categories, a significant difference was found between the Image Creation and Word Only interventions within the science terms category. Students also reported that the imagery interventions facilitated the ease with which they learned the words. The findings have implications for increasing the success of classroom instruction, specifically for presenting novel vocabulary words to early elementary learners using imagery methods.


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