Literacy for Diverse Student Learners
 Instructional intervention research that examines a
particular form of vocabulary learning by English
Language Learners in the context of instruction
 Aim is to study vocabulary acquisition, therefore,
evaluation of instructional effectiveness is incidental
to this aim.
 Such studies are desirable in this field given the lack
of a coherent theoretical framework that links child
development, language learning, linguistic context,
and academic learning.
Is cognate awareness instruction effective
in promoting English vocabulary
development among 3rd and 5th grade
Spanish speaking ELL’s?
Maria Carlo
University of Miami
Diane August
Center for Applied Linguistics
Chris Barr
University of Houston
Walter Fajet,
University of Miami
December 12, 2006
Society for Research on Educational
Effectiveness
Background
 One strategy believed to be successful in promoting
the rapid acquisition of vocabulary by ELLs involves
teaching children about the morphological structure
of words.
 Researchers believe that it is beneficial for ELLs if
instruction on the structural analysis of words
includes making students aware of the crosslinguistic morphological relationships between words
in their two languages (García & Nagy, 1993; Nagy,
García, Durgunoglu, & Hancin-Bhatt,1993; Jiménez
et al., 1996; Nation 2001).
Continued
 This involves making students aware of words
that are cognates (words that are spelt alike and
have similar meanings in two languages), and
making them aware of similarities between
derivational morphemes in the two languages.
 (e.g, motivación-motivation; edificio-edifice;
preocupado-preocupied; enfermo-infirm)
Preliminary study
 In our previous work we found that 4th grade
ELLs had superior vocabulary performance
on English words that were cognates to
Spanish relative to English words that were
not cognates and were matched in frequency
and part of speech to the tested cognates.
 Moreover a composite measure of Spanish
orthographic knowledge, breadth of word
knowledge and morphological awareness
related to performance on cognates but not to
noncognates.
Research Question
 Can an intervention developed to teach
cognate awareness to Spanish/English
bilingual 3rd and 5th graders improve their
learning of English words that have cognate
status in Spanish?
 Does the cognate recognition strategy
transfer to other cognates that have not been
instructed?
Subjects



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130 (122 completed program) 3rd grade
Spanish-speaking students
128 (105 completed program) 5th grade
Spanish-speaking students
All designated as English Language Learners
Three public schools in Miami that offered
Spanish maintenance for 45 minutes 3 times a
week (2 schools implemented at each grade
level)
Majority within each school were Latino/a
Schools had obtained grades of at least B
Measures
English
Pre & Post-intervention
 Cognate Awareness Test (48
items)
 Extract the Base (28 items)
 WLPB Passage
Comprehension
Pre-intervention Only
 WLPB Letter-word ID
 WLPB Picture-Word
Vocabulary
 WLPB Listening
Comprehension
Post-intervention Only
 SVT Cognate
Comprehension (24 items)
Spanish
Pre-intervention Only
 Extract the Base (28 items)
 WLPB Picture-Word
Vocabulary
 WLPB Letter-word ID
 WLPB Listening
Comprehension
 WLPB Passage
Comprehension
Researcher Developed Measures:
Cognate Awareness Test
 Developed to measure students’ awareness of
Spanish cognates as a source of information
for inferring meanings of unknown English
words.
 Examines whether Native Spanish Speaking
children are better able to recognize the
meaning of unfamiliar English words if these
words have a corresponding sound, spelling,
and meaning in Spanish
Researcher Developed Measures:
Cognate Awareness Test
 Example: edifice
building
committee
island
Congress
Cognates Awareness Test:
Item Characteristics
High Spanish
Frequency & Low
English Frequency
Low English
Frequency
matches
25. converse
speak with someone
fight with someone
include someone
leave out someone
26. jest
defend
bend
joke
observe
Instructed
cognates
not instructed
cognates
Instructed
noncognates
not instructed
noncognates
permanent
pensive
feasible
allot
conduct
obligated
sway
strife
accumulation
adorn
prey
discard
miniscule
tranquil
shallow
pun
consists
impede
source
drought
potent
detain
environment
jest
isolated
augment
bound
haul
expand
edifice
thrive
gritty
occupies
terminus
replenished
brittle
rituals
profundity
rough
snug
pallid
feasibility
castigate
clutch
anterior
leery
Researcher Developed Measures:
Extract the Base
Measures children’s knowledge of derivational
morphology (their awareness of the rules by which
words change from one part of speech to
another).
Example: recognition > recognize
(Test adapted from Carlisle, 1988)
Researcher Developed Measures:
Extract the Base
1. publicity 1. The _______________ was happy with the show.
2. sensitive 2. Animals often ____________ storms before they
come.
3. breathe
3. Sometimes you can see your ___________.
Extract the Base:
Item Characteristics
Morphological
Transformation
Definition
Example
Orthographic
Spelling changes
emptiness > empty
Phonological
Pronunciation
changes
cleanliness > clean
Both
Spelling &
Pronunciation
changes
recognition >
recognize
No Change
No Change
farmer > farm
Extract the Base: Scoring
• score of 0--Incorrect response associated with
copying the derived form, providing a translation or
a random letter string
• score of 1--partially correct indicating an attempt to
extract a base or transform the word in some way
but resulting in a letter string that was not viable
either phonologically or orthographically .
• score of 2--partially correct extraction of the base
expressed through a phonologically or
orthographically viable letter string.
• score of 3--completely correct base
Design 3rd & 5th grade Study



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Recruited all 3rd and 5th grade Spanish speaking ELLs
in a school to participate in an after school program
and provided free transportation to any family needing
it.
Cognate intervention vs. FCAT Preparation course
(Preparing Students for the FCAT: Thematic,
Standards-Based Instruction Grades 4-5 published by
Carson Dellosa)
4 treatment & 4 control classrooms in each school.
Stratified random assignment of students to conditions
on the basis of WLPB measures in Spanish and
English.
Delivery of Treatment and Control
Curricula
 6 weeks (24 lessons)
 Small groups of 8-10 students
 Delivered by school teachers who received 8
hours of training in 4 sessions. (2 pretreatment and 2 during treatment)
 One hour after-school 4 times a week
Cognate Intervention
 3 units on Exploration: Antarctica, Coral Reefs, & Space
 General lesson on cognates and learning to recognize them on




basis of phonology, orthography, and shared meaning.
Target words consisted of cognates or noncognates
Units open with a theme-related video and biography of an
explorer.
Pre-teaching of target words using translation equivalents, childfriendly definitions, and extension activities such as those
suggested by Beck and colleagues.
Words then presented in informational texts with comprehension
questions inserted at critical points within the text. All reading
conducted as group and orally by the teacher
Hypotheses:
 Positive effect of cognate instruction
 Treatment > Control on instructed cognates
 Treatment > Control on non-instructed cognates
 Treatment > Control on instructed noncognates
 Treatment=Control on non-instructed noncognates
 Effect of word type favoring cogntates
 Effect of English Word Knowledge (EWK) and
Spanish Word Knowledge (SWK). EWK and SWK
are composite of WLPB Letter-Word ID; Picture-Word
ID; Extract the Base
 Interaction of Rx with SWK & EWK

SWK should not predict to noncognates
Descriptives…
Performance (in Scaled Scores) on
Spanish WLPB at Pretest
Spanish
WLPB
Condition
3rd Grade
Mean
(SD)
5th Grade
Mean
(SD)
Picture
Vocabulary
Treatment
74.55 (26.06)
76.09 (23.06)
Control
68.98 (23.82)
82.22 (21.88)
Listening
Treatment
89.98 (15.62)
94.19 (13.44)
Control
89.15 (12.58)
93.35 (14.13)
Letter-Word
ID
Treatment
105.86 (34.92)
120.93 (26.04)
Control
107.32 (35.43)
116.70 (26.02)
Passage
Treatment
83.70 (23.26)
85.63 (11.78)
Control
82.38 (20.92)
84.39 (12.66)
Performance (in Scaled Scores) on
English WLPB at Pretest
English WLPB
Condition
3rd Grade Mean
(SD)
5th Grade Mean
(SD)
Picture
Vocabulary
Treatment
70.44 (21.33)
60.17 (33.87)
Control
72.48 (19.61)
76.83 (20.47)
Listening
Treatment
75.91 (19.65)
67.46 (32.20)
Control
79.30 (18.45)
81.65 (24.98)
Treatment
95.38 (18.17)
93.57 (29.03)
Control
97.97 (17.04)
102.57 (13.60)
Treatment
92.16 (16.05)
82.96 (23.92)
Control
93.18 (16.95)
91.61 (14.17)
Letter Word ID
Passage
Performance on Researcher Developed
Measures at Pretest
3rd Grade
5th Grade
Mean
Mean
(Std. Deviation) (Std. Deviation)
Measure
Condition
English Extract
the Base
(range 0-84)
Treatment
28.84 (11.72)
37.48 (13.63)
Control
32.13 (10.99)
42.43 (10.80)
Spanish Extract
the Base
(range 0-84)
Treatment
33.28 (15.51)
45.63 (13.54)
Control
31.49 (15.00)
46.33 (13.98)
Cognate
Awareness
(range 0-48)
Treatment
19.27 (4.80)
27.65 (8.88)
Control
18.56 (5.89)
31.78 (8.59)
Third Grade Performance on Cognate Awareness Test as a
Function of Time of Test, Word Type, and Condition
Time
Pre
Word Type
Cognates
Noncognates
Post Cognates
Noncognates
Condition
Mean
SD
N
Control
10.94
3.90
62
Treatment
11.55
3.60
60
Control
7.65
2.94
62
Treatment
7.85
2.58
60
Control
11.74
4.60
62
Treatment
12.18
4.14
60
Control
8.27
2.88
62
Treatment
9.00
2.36
60
Fifth Grade Performance on Cognate Awareness Test as a
Function of Time of Test, Word Type, and Condition
Time
Pre
Word Type
Cognates
Non-cognates
Post
Cognates
Non-cognates
Condition
Mean
SD
N
Control
12.92
4.67
50
Treatment
11.25
4.33
55
Control
11.76
4.02
50
Treatment
10.15
4.49
55
Control
12.08
4.42
50
Treatment
12.15
4.73
55
Control
11.98
4.33
50
Treatment
11.07
4.79
55
Third Grade Post-test Performance on Cognate
Test by Word Type and Instruction
Condition
Mean
Std. Dev.
Treatment
3.92
1.95
Control
3.28
1.68
Treatment
4.41
2.31
Control
4.91
2.56
Instructed nonCognate
Treatment
3.81
1.74
Control
3.16
1.73
Uninstructed nonCognate
Treatment
4.62
2.06
Control
4.86
2.03
Instructed Cognates
Uninstructed Cognates
Fifth Grade Post-test Performance on Cognate
Test by Word Type and Instruction
Condition
Mean
SD
Instructed
Cognates
Treatment
4.98
2.33
Control
4.54
1.76
Uninstructed
Cognates
Treatment
7.82
3.21
Control
8.32
3.33
Instructed
Noncognate
Treatment
5.20
2.61
Control
4.78
2.10
Uninstructed
Noncognate
Treatment
5.8
2.74
Control
7.2
2.58
Tests of hypotheses…
3rd & 5th Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Cognates
Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Cognates
Pr > |t|
Intercept
1.29
<.01
5.02
<.01
Pretest
0.33
<.01
0.43
<.01
Rx
0.66
<.01
-0.36
0.22
Rx*EWK
0.02
<.01
0.02
0.16
Rx*SWK
-0.01
0.05
-0.01
0.22
English Word Knowledge
(EWK)
-0.00
0.47
-0.01
0.52
Spanish Word Knowledge
(SWK)
0.01
<.01
0.04
<.01
grade 3
0.00
.
0.00
.
grade 5
3.13
<.01
3.05
<.01
3rd & 5th Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Non-cognates
Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Non-cognates
Pr > |t|
Intercept
1.97
<.01
5.08
<.01
Pretest
0.12
0.09
0.19
<.01
Rx
0.93
<.01
-0.24
0.36
Rx*EWK
0.01
0.33
0.00
0.94
Rx*SWK
-0.00
0.89
-0.01
0.18
English Word
Knowledge (EWK)
0.02
<.01
0.03
<.01
Spanish Word
Knowledge (SWK)
0.00
0.36
0.01
0.33
Grade 3
0.00
.
0.00
.
Grade 5
2.40
<.01
1.34
<.01
3rd Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Cognates Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Cognates
Pr > |t|
Intercept
1.33
<.01
5.05
<.01
Pretest
0.24
0.01
0.23
0.01
Rx
0.57
<.01
-0.47
0.19
Rx*EWK
0.01
0.23
-0.01
0.46
Rx*SWK
-0.01
0.19
-0.00
0.98
English Word
Knowledge (EWK)
-0.01
0.20
0.01
0.35
Spanish Word
Knowledge (SWK)
0.02
<.01
0.03
<.01
5th Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Cognates Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Cognates
Pr > |t|
Intercept
3.79
<.01
8.17
<.01
Pretest
0.30
<.01
0.52
<.01
Rx
1.35
<.01
-0.37
0.47
Rx*EWK
0.00
0.87
0.05
0.02
Rx*SWK
-0.01
0.37
-0.01
0.67
English Word Knowledge 0.03
(EWK)
0.04
-0.03
0.13
Spanish Word
Knowledge (SWK)
0.04
0.04
<.01
0.02
3rd Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Noncognates
Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Noncognates Pr > |t|
Intercept
1.97
<.01
4.92
<.01
Pretest
0.05
0.64
0.03
0.77
Rx
0.90
<.01
0.03
0.93
Rx*EWK
-0.01
0.49
-0.02
0.21
Rx*SWK
0.01
0.46
0.00
0.76
English Word
Knowledge (EWK)
0.02
<.01
0.03
0.03
Spanish Word
Knowledge (SWK)
0.00
0.68
0.00
0.70
5th Grade
Effect
Estimate
Instructed
Noncognates
Pr > |t|
Estimate
Uninstructed
Noncognates Pr > |t|
Intercept
4.09
<.01
6.34
<.01
Pretest
0.11
0.33
0.27
<.01
Rx
1.18
0.01
-0.34
0.49
Rx*EWK
0.01
0.43
-0.01
0.77
Rx*SWK
-0.01
0.42
-0.03
0.09
English Word
Knowledge (EWK)
0.03
0.06
0.04
0.02
Spanish Word
Knowledge (SWK)
0.02
0.10
0.02
0.12
Summary
 Obtained positive effect for treatment on
instructed cognates and noncognates
 No strong evidence of transfer of cognate
recognition strategy to uninstructed cognates
 Spanish Word Knowledge (SWK) predicts to
cognates only
Improving Knowledge of Educational
Effectiveness for ELLs
 Large scale evaluations of programs
implemented with ELLs
 Awareness that ELL is a label that serves
administrative needs and that the
reclassification of children into FEP does not
make them comparable to monolingual
English speakers.
 Studies that clarify how effect of instruction
relates to linguistic, developmental,
contextual factors particular to L2 populations
Acquiring Literacy in English
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Department of Education/Office of Educational Research and
Improvement
http://www.cal.org/acqlit/
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