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The Effectiveness of a Program to Accelerate Vocabulary Development in Kindergarten (VOCAB)


Authors:   Barbara Goodson, Anne Wolf, Steve Bell, Herb Turner, Pamela B. Finney

The Regional Educational Laboratory-Southeast at SERVE Center (REL-SE) conducted a randomized control trial in the Mississippi Delta to test the impact of Kindergarten PAVEd for Success (K-PAVE) on students’ expressive vocabulary. The K-PAVE intervention is a kindergarten vocabulary instruction program designed to promote kindergarten students’ vocabulary development through frequent, interactive book reading, explicit vocabulary instruction, and teacher-child conversations built around enhanced use of vocabulary. Study findings, published in this REL-SE report, showed K-PAVE had a significant positive impact for student’s vocabulary development and academic knowledge, as well as for the classroom instruction outcome of vocabulary and comprehension support. This study was the first independent test of the effectiveness of the K-PAVE vocabulary intervention, using a rigorous randomized design, and testing the intervention as it is implemented in multiple school districts.

For More Information Contact: Wendy McColskey

Product Specifics

Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Number of pages: 205
Price: $0.00


Policymakers, Administrators, Classroom Teachers, Teacher Educators, Literacy Specialists/Coordinators

Key Ideas:

  1. To learn about the randomized control trial study design used to test the impact of K-PAVE on students' expressive vocabulary.
  2. To learn about classroom instructional strategies proven to advance the vocabulary development of Kindergarten students.

Ways to use:

  1. Students who received the K-PAVE intervention are one month ahead in vocabulary development at the end of kindergarten compared with students in the control group. 
  2. Teachers who received K-PAVE training exhibited a positive and statistically significant impact on classroom instructional practices pertaining to vocabulary and comprehension support.


View video clips of some of the strategies used in the vocabulary intervention implemented with Mississippi Delta kindergartners as part of the study.

Visit our Literacy web page.

Strategies for Building Vocabulary in the Primary Years is now featured in the SERVE Special Collection on Teachers' Domain.

K-PAVE developers:
Claire E. Hamilton, University of Massachusetts, cehamilt@educ.umass.edu  
Prof. Paula J. Schwanenflugel, University of Georgia, pschwan@uga.edu

APA Citation:

Goodson, B., Wolf, A., Bell, S., Turner, H., and Finney, P.B. (2010). The Effectiveness of a Program to Accelerate Vocabulary Development in Kindergarten (VOCAB). (NCEE 2010- 4014). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. ________________________________________________________ Hamilton, C. E., & Schwanenflugel, P. J. (in press). PAVEd for Success: Building vocabulary and language development in young learners. Baltimore, MD: Brookes