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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Evidence-Based Vocabulary Instruction for Elementary Students Via Storybook Reading

Johnson, C. J., & Yeates, E. (2007).
EBP Briefs, 1, 25-40

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes

Description: This is a systematic review of experimental and quasi-experimental studies investigating the effect of vocabulary instruction programs on expressive language outcomes of elementary school-aged children (Grades K-4).

Question(s) Addressed:

"Do elementary school students (kindergarten through grade 4) learn new vocabulary more effectively from hearing stories with brief explanations of unknown words than from hearing stories without such explanations?" (p. 25).

Population: Elementary school students (kindergarten through grade 4)

Intervention/Assessment: Vocabulary Instruction Programs (e.g. story book reading with brief explanations of unknown words) compared to story book reading without vocabulary instruction/explanation.

Number of Studies Included: 5 randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs

Years Included: Through 2006 (studies included in review were published 1989 - 2006)



  • Treatment
    • Language
      • Expressive Language - Vocabulary Instruction
        • While all of the studies had some methodological limitations, the authors concluded that vocabulary instruction interventions are promising and warrant consideration.
        • "[T]he results of the five studies generally converged on the conclusion that hearing stories with brief explanations of target words provided a consistent benefit in vocabulary learning relative to hearing stories without such explanations" (p. 10).

Keywords: Literacy

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Added to Compendium: January 2012

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