A study published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness reports on the impact of Word Generation on academic language, vocabulary, and reading comprehension outcomes for students in grades 4 to 7.
Word Generation (WG) is a vocabulary program designed to teach academic vocabulary words through English, math, science, and social studies classroom activities. For this study, 7,725 4th to 7th grade students from 25 schools in the northeast U.S. were randomized within pairs to either treatment or business-as-usual control conditions. In treatment schools, the program was implemented throughout the school year. In grades 4 and 5, this involved 12 ten-day long units of 45-50 minutes per day. For grades 6 and 7, the program was implemented in six-week long units designed to take 45 minutes each day in science and social studies classes. The results showed:
- At the end of the first year, students in grades 4 and 5 also made improvements on their academic language skills (ES = +0.06), and in their reading comprehension at the end of the second year (ES = +0.15).
- Reading comprehension also improved at the end of the second year for students in grades 6 and 7 (ES = +0.10).
The study also showed gains on tests of the specific words emphasized in the program, but these effects are considered potentially inflated.
Source: Jones, S. M., LaRusso, M., Kim, J., Kim, H. Y., Selman, R., Uccelli, P., Barnes, S. P., Donovan, S., & Snow, C. (2019). Experimental effects of word generation on vocabulary, academic language, perspective taking, and reading comprehension in high-poverty schools. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 12(3), 448–483