Summer 2020


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Trish Harvey

Content Expert

Judith Kerrigan-Krodel


Vocabulary knowledge has been identified as one of the best predictors of reading comprehension. Research shows that there is a great disparity between ELs and non-ELs’ knowledge of vocabulary. This disparity leads to a larger gap that we as teachers need to fill for our ELs to be more successful in acquiring vocabulary and improve their overall literacy levels. In an effort to help teachers close this gap, I researched the question: How does vocabulary instruction improve ELs’ F&P (Fountas & Pinnell) literacy levels? Reading is one content area that ELs tend to find challenges with. One reason being, the need for vocabulary instruction in today’s classrooms. Scott, Jamieson-Noel, and Assein (2003) found in their observations of classrooms, that only 1.4% of instructional time was spent on developing vocabulary knowledge. This fact led to the design of my capstone project: an online course on Schoology for teachers in order to provide them with the tools and supports necessary to teach their ELs with effective methods of vocabulary instruction. The content and materials of this course cover knowledge on Beck, McKeown, and Kucan’s (2002) Tier 2/Tier 3 words as well as the importance of teaching academic vocabulary. It also outlines researched methods of vocabulary instruction, including building ELs’ background knowledge by: activating prior knowledge, incorporating multimedia enhancements, realia, sentence frames and read alouds. Reading comprehension of ELs is largely dependent upon how well students can read, their word knowledge and how well they can use the language. For this reason, we cannot say with certainty that an increase of vocabulary instruction will improve literacy levels, however we can say that it is definitely a step toward reaching that goal.

Project Type

Online Course


Vocabulary, Literacy, English Language Learners/ELs








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