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This literature review seeks to explore effective academic vocabulary instruction for English Language Learners in mixed K-12 classroom settings with native English learners. Key influences include: Zwiers, Beck, McKeown, Kucan, Carlo, Snow, C, and Silverman. The research method consisted of a literature review comprising qualitative, quantitative, meta-analysis, case study, and action research studies. Major findings from this literature review reveal: 1) Content-embedded academic vocabulary must be explicitly taught to attain the highest level of vocabulary acquisition and retention. 2) Explicit teaching of word-analysis skills shows greater target item gains than teaching vocabulary meaning alone. 3) Students engaged in academic talk with the target vocabulary items demonstrated the greatest gains in target and incidental vocabulary acquisition with increased retention as well as increased language skills on post-treatment measures. Implications for teaching and curriculum adaptation is included.