The effect of context on the acquisition of vocabulary in good and poor readers
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This study examined the effectiveness of context on the acquisition of new vocabulary for good and poor readers. Twentyeight Grade Three children, fourteen good readers and fourteen poor readers, took part in a word-learning task within three conditions: (1) strong sentence context, (2) weak sentence context, and (3) list condition. The primary hypothesis was that poor readers would show less learning in the list condition than good readers and that there would be no difference in the amount of learning in the sentence conditions. Results revealed that: (a) Words are read faster in sentence contexts than in 1 ist contexts; (b) more learning or greater improvement in performance occurs in list contexts and weak sentence contexts as opposed to strong sentence contexts; and (c) that most of these differences can be attributed to the build-up of meaning in sentences. Results indicated that good and poor readers learned more about words in all three condi tions. More learning and greater performance occurred in the list condition as opposed to the two sentence conditions for both subject groups. However, the poor readers learned significantly more about words in both the list condition and the weak sentence condition than the good readers.