Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the reading ability, particularly in the area of reading comprehension and the level of reading vocabulary possessed by junior high aged students with learning disabilities. Reading is a complex process involving the simultaneous integrated application of the four cuing systems: (a) graphophonic, (b) syntactic, (c) semantic, and (d) schematic. While most people learn to utilize these systems rather easily, this is not true for everyone. Failure to effectively employ any one or more of these cuing systems can spell disaster for the reader both in school and in many profound areas of life after exiting school. A review of the literature confirmed that there is a definite correlation between a reader’s vocabulary (semantics) and reading comprehension. The research also indicated that there are two primary approaches to teaching vocabulary, direct instruction and contextual instruction. There are numerous methods which have been researched and utilized for each type of instruction, with each having strengths and weakness. This study reviewed some of those methods and identified benefits and drawbacks for them. It also studied a means to assess whether there is a correlation between a student's vocabulary and reading comprehension utilizing already existing evaluation tools that are typically used by school psychologists, the Vocabulary sub-test of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children III and the Passage Comprehension section of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Basic Achievement. While the use of these evaluation tools did not prove successful in establishing a significant positive correlation, some additional areas of research that may be pursued in the future are identified.


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