Learning vocabulary through morpheme word family object boxes
Rule, Audrey C.
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Vocabulary instruction is an important part of literacy. This paper reports the results of a small pilot study that investigated two instructional approaches to the use of morpheme or root word families in teaching vocabulary to third grade students. Twelve students randomly divided into two groups at a high-needs urban school in central New York State participated in the investigation. Students learned eight word families in a repeated measures counterbalanced pretest/posttest design. The groups alternated learning vocabulary words through two conditions, traditional worksheet versus object boxes with word cards. The morphemic families studied contained the morphemes: oct, ped, tele, quad, cycle, man, meta, and dict. Students made gains in both conditions. Mean gains for all participants were somewhat higher in the object box condition, but this was not statistically significant because of the small number of students. This study shows that object boxes can produce the same or perhaps even better gains in vocabulary acquisition than traditional worksheet methods, with greater student motivation.