Words in Context: Memorization Techniques Applied to Word Identification

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Masters of Education

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The purpose of this study was to determine if a word context strategy could improve accuracy and fluency of word identification in a first grade classroom. The "word in context" strategy was added in parallel with a flashcard method already employed. The study used a pretest and posttest to measure recognition of a list of sight words that first graders find difficult because they cannot use their emerging phonemic word attack skills. Half the students received the exposure to the "word in context" strategy to improve memorization. Posttest scores showed improvement but not enough to be statistically significant from the control group. This was due to high motivation and achievement by students in both groups, even on the pretest evaluation, as well as unexpected interest and effort by the control group to learn the words. The "word in context" strategy is an additional tool if the classroom teacher has time to add it to curriculum, but a more careful study is needed to determine its true effects in a broader population of early readers.