Reading and Writing

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 517–544 | Cite as

Improving comprehension online: effects of deep vocabulary instruction with bilingual and monolingual fifth graders

  • C. Patrick ProctorEmail author
  • Bridget Dalton
  • Paola Uccelli
  • Gina Biancarosa
  • Elaine Mo
  • Catherine Snow
  • Sabina Neugebauer


This quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of an Internet-delivered universally designed depth of vocabulary intervention that targeted both English-speaking and Spanish–English-speaking students. Two hundred forty students, 49% of whom were Spanish–English bilinguals, participated in the 16-week intervention. Intervention students read eight multimedia texts with embedded instruction on 40 words and reading strategy support. Students could access all texts and activities in Spanish and English. In comparison to a control group, there were significant intervention effects on a standardized measure of vocabulary knowledge, but effects were non-significant for comprehension. Similarly, significant effects on researcher-developed measures of vocabulary depth were detected, but not for a researcher-developed measure of breadth.


Vocabulary Intervention Bilingual English language learner Universal design for learning Technology 



The research reported here was funded by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education to CAST, Inc (#R305G050029). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education. We would like to thank the CAST, Harvard, and Boston College research teams as well as the administrators, teachers, and, most especially, the children who have contributed to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Patrick Proctor
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bridget Dalton
    • 2
  • Paola Uccelli
    • 3
  • Gina Biancarosa
    • 4
  • Elaine Mo
    • 5
  • Catherine Snow
    • 3
  • Sabina Neugebauer
    • 3
  1. 1.Boston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityVanderbiltUSA
  3. 3.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.University of OregonEugeneUSA
  5. 5.Center for Applied Special TechnologyWakefieldUSA

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