Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 515–537

Effects of morphological instruction on vocabulary acquisition


DOI: 10.1007/s11145-009-9172-z

Cite this article as:
Bowers, P.N. & Kirby, J.R. Read Writ (2010) 23: 515. doi:10.1007/s11145-009-9172-z


The effects of a 20-session intervention targeting morphological word structure on vocabulary knowledge were investigated in four Grade 4 and 5 classes, assigned randomly to treatment and control conditions. Hierarchical regression analyses controlling for initial vocabulary showed significant instructional effects on morphological analysis and vocabulary with words that were taught directly and novel words built on bases that were taught in the context of other derivations, but not for words with untaught bases. Results indicated that the treatment group made better use of pre-test vocabulary knowledge in learning new vocabulary. Results are discussed in light of the growing debate regarding whether to teach many words in a shallow way or to provide deep, rich instruction about fewer words.


Morphological intervention Vocabulary development Spelling Instructional research 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations