Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Reading and Language

First Advisor

Peter Fisher

Second Advisor

Camille Blachowicz

Third Advisor

Ruth Ravid


The purpose of this study was to determine if eighth-graders could acquire vocabulary incidentally while listening to nonfiction read-alouds connected to the physical sciences curriculum. In this quasi-experimental study 3 of 6 intact eighth-grade science classes listened to 14 nonfiction read-aloud selections of nonfiction passages selected from books not commonly found in schools but which related to the curriculum which the students would be experiencing in eighth grade. Pretests and posttests were administered to all 6 classes comprising 154 students. Reading ability was included as a variable. Target words comprised of technical and nontechnical words. Assessments included a vocabulary matching task with 30 vocabulary words and 6 student-generated definitions. No significant differences were found between the complete treatment and control groups on first measure. However, there was a significant difference in favor of the high-ability treatment group on the vocabulary matching task. Students in the treatment group also appeared to perform better on a measure of the depth of word knowledge. Several science teachers were interviewed and surveyed regarding the importance of teaching of science vocabulary. While reading aloud in science classes is not a common practice, many of the teachers indicated that they could see a value in doing so. Several students were interviewed regarding their listening experiences during the read-aloud sessions. The responses to the experience were mixed. It was posited that this may have been because the reading was done by the experimenter rather than the science teacher herself.


Dean's Representative on the Dissertation Committee: Donna Ogle.