Journal Article: Linking Root Words and Derived Forms for Adult Struggling Readers: A Pilot Study

I am pleased to share an article from volume one, issue one of the new ProLiteracy peer-reviewed, online research journal, Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy. This article is written by Susan H. Gray, Bridgewater State University.

The goal of the pilot study outlined in this article was to investigate the effects of morphological instruction on component literacy skills of adult struggling readers. Sixteen adults, most with decoding and encoding deficits, were randomly assigned to tutoring in either morpheme or syllable analysis to learn academic vocabulary and increase component literacy skills.Those taught semantic connections between Latin and Greek root words and their derived forms outperformed those taught syllable types on a standardized test of word recognition, though both groups demonstrated large gains for learning target words. Results support connectionist theories that promote teaching morphological links in literacy instruction.

You can download the full article here.



Thank you for sharing this article.  I wonder if some of the methods used could be incorporated into existing reading instruction.  I really liked the tree graphic organizers, "whose roots contained the spelling and meaning of the high frequency root word, with branches containing the spellings and meanings of the 4 derived forms."  Has anyone else used this method, or a similar method, of morphological instruction?


HI Jennifer, 

Thank you for sharing this article.  The study is very clearly defined so that practitioners could easily incorporate as a systematic intervention to vocabulary instruction.  I recommend it to others who are seeking insight into how to increase effectiveness in teaching academic vocabulary.


Ann Leonard