Analysis of student interaction with and review of targeted vocabulary in reading/language arts programs

With over 6,400,000 students enrolled (National Institute of Educational Services, 2011), California is the largest K-12 school system in the United States and therefore the quality of programs chosen for its state-wide adoption is particularly important. The purpose of this study was to (a) give a clearer picture of how frequently interactions are built into vocabulary instruction among adopted K-6 reading/language arts programs, (b) examine how teachers perceive the need for instructional adaptations and (c) determine whether they are implementing changes in response to deficits in interactions within published materials. An analysis of the mean number of interactions for students called for in four reading/language arts programs chosen in the 2008 California adoption produced results identifying only 18% of the sample units as reflecting numbers of vocabulary interactions at or above the optimal amounts recommended by McKeown, Beck, Omanson and Pople (1985). Contingency tables were run for numerous responses to a survey on teacher perceptions of the adequacy of text-specified number of practices based on years of teaching experience, grade level of teacher and specific reading/language arts program taught. The results found no statistically significant difference between the survey responses of teachers and these variables. A discussion of the results with focus groups provided additional information about teachers’ instructional practices related to vocabulary practices.