Effects of nonfiction guided interactive read-alouds and think-alouds on fourth grader's depth of content area science vocabulary knowledge and comprehension

Tania Tamara Hanna


Effects of nonfiction guided interactive read-alouds and think-alouds as a supplement to basal science textbooks on three vocabulary measures, definitions, examples, and characteristics, and one multiple-choice comprehension measure were assessed for 127 fourth graders over three time periods: pretest, posttest, and a 2-week delayed posttest. Two of three fourth-grade elementary science teachers implemented a series of 12 content-enhanced guided interactive scripted lessons. Two of these teachers implemented two treatments each. The first condition employed basal science textbooks as the text for guided interactive read-alouds and think-alouds while the second treatment employed basal science textbooks in conjunction with nonfiction text sets as the texts for guided interactive read-alouds and think-alouds. The third teacher, guided by traditional lesson plans, provided students with silent independent reading instruction using basal science textbooks. Multivariate analyses of variance and analyses of variance tests showed that mean scores for both treatment groups significantly improved on definitions and characteristics measures at posttest and either stabilized or slightly declined at delayed posttest. The treatment-plus group lost considerably on the examples posttest measure. The treatment group improved mean scores on the examples posttest measure, outperforming the treatment-plus group and the control group. Alternately, the control group significantly improved on the delayed posttest examples measure. Additionally, the two groups implementing guided interactive read-alouds and think-alouds performed better than the independent reading group on multiple-choice comprehension measures at posttest and sustained those gains 2 weeks later on delayed posttests. Findings maintain the incremental nature of vocabulary acquisition and development research and emphasize the roles of listening and speaking as critical features for integrating vocabulary into long-term memory.