The generation effect and word learning: a test of the effect of the language experience approach versus the text approach in the acquisition of new reading vocabulary
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A class of twenty-two grade one children was tested to determine their reading levels using the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Achievement Test. Based on these results and teacher input the students were paired according to reading ability. The students ages ranged from six years four months to seven years four months at the commencement of the study. Eleven children were assigned to the language experience group and their partners became the text group. Each member of the language experience group generated a list of eight to be learned words. The treatment consisted of exposing the student to a given word three times per session for ten sessions, over a period of five days. The dependent variables consisted of word identification speed, word identification accuracy, and word recognition accuracy. Each member of the text group followed the same procedure using his/her partner's list of words. Upon completion of this training, the entire process was repeated with members of the text group from the first part becoming members of the language experience group and vice versa. The results suggest that generally speaking language experience words are identified faster than text words but that there is no difference in the rate at which these words are learned. Language experience words may be identified faster because the auditory-semantic information is more readily available in them than in text words. The rate of learning in both types of words, however, may be dictated by the orthography of the to be learned word.