Preschool children’s retention of words of different form classes over 6 months

Preschool children’s retention of words of different form classes over 6 months

First Author: David Dickinson -- Vanderbilt U.
Additional authors/chairs: 
M.E. Collins; K. Herbert; J. Lawson-Adams; E. Hopkins; J. Schatz; M. Shrilla; R. Golinkoff; K. Hirsh-Pasek
Keywords: Early Literacy, Vocabulary, Preschool Classrooms, Intervention, Professional Development
Abstract / Summary: 

Vocabulary intervention projects have been able to teach children novel vocabulary, but studies have rarely reported whether words are retained over time, if retention is related to word type (e.g., imageability, form class), and if retention is improved when review is provided. We report results from a preschool vocabulary intervention that taught words through book reading, music, large group games, and board games and reviewed half.

Word learning was assessed using pre-post receptive and expressive tests. Words were reviewed using the same activity with which they were taught 2 months after initial teaching and delayed post-test were administered 4.5 weeks after words were initially taught. Gains were analyzed using multi-level models that controlled for age and site. Effects of reviewing words versus not reviewing words were tested using within-individual comparisons.

Initial analyses found that children gained receptive and expressive word knowledge and retained most of it for 6 months (p < .000) . There was some learning loss between immediate and delayed tests for words that were not refreshed, but much less loss for those that were reviewed (p < .000). Analysis by form class for receptive knowledge at post-test revealed greater growth and retention of concrete nouns vs. verbs and adjectives; no differences were found using the expressive measure.

Preschool children retain word knowledge for a considerable period of time after learning them using different instructional methods. Retention is somewhat improved by providing two review sessions three months after initial instruction.