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kindergarten classroomThe Effectiveness of a Program to Accelerate Vocabulary Development in Kindergarten (K-PAVE)


Meeting the learning needs of students who are at risk of poor reading outcomes is a high priority for the Mississippi state legislature. To assist with this effort, REL Southeast conducted a study of an intervention designed to improve the vocabulary of kindergartners. The intervention had previously shown evidence of a positive effect on children’s vocabulary development at the pre-K level in the Southeast. The K-PAVE curriculum was selected because it was the only curriculum with this evidence1 and with teacher training materials and protocols to guide curriculum delivery.

K-PAVE has three components for which teachers received materials and training. The first component is Explicit Vocabulary Instruction (“New Vehicles”), and it involves explicit instruction of vocabulary words using a variety of strategies. The second component is Interactive Book Reading (“CAR Talk”), and it involves teachers engaging children during story reading through questions that promote comprehension and oral language skills. The third component is Adult-Child Conversations (“Building Bridges”), and it involves conversations with individual or small groups of students to provide opportunities for using new vocabulary words productively, and to improve their oral language skills generally.

View the following videos to learn how new interventions are being used with underserved children in the Mississippi Delta to strengthen vocabulary development.

Overview of Vocabulary Intervention

In this video, get a brief overview of the goals of a kindergarten vocabulary intervention program.

Introduction to Vocabulary Intervention

In this short video, get an overview of the concerns, research, and solutions surrounding vocabulary acquisitions among underserved kindergartners.

Emma Orsby-Jackson - Winter Unit

View how one teacher introduces her students to new vocabulary words through the use of picture cards, storybook reading, and informal, unscripted conversations. 

Cathy Garner - Winter Unit

View how another teacher uses picture cards, storybook reading, and rich conversations to introduce new vocabulary words to kindergarten students.

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

Read the report, The Effectiveness of a Program to Accelerate Vocabulary Development in Kindergarten.

1 Although there was no evidence of an effect of K-PAVE on kindergartners' vocabulary, there was evidence of an effect on an earlier version of the curriculum (PAVE) on preschoolers' vocabulary.