Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Janet Strickland

Abstract

Researchers have shown that vocabulary development is a challenge for English Language Learners (ELLs) as they are less prepared to use contextual and linguistic clues to decode unfamiliar vocabulary. Beginning in the upper elementary grades, reading in content areas becomes lengthier and more complex. Technology-supported vocabulary instruction to teach social studies to ELLs is a relatively new concept in the 5th grade classroom. The purpose of this comparative study was to assess the vocabulary and reading comprehension outcomes of ELLs in the content area of 5th grade social studies when taught using technology-supported versus traditional textbook instruction. Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning provided the theoretical foundation for the study. A quasi­experimental approach with a nonequivalent pretest and posttest comparison group design was used. All 99 5th grade ELL students at an elementary school in the southeastern United States served as the study sample. Pre-existing classroom groups were taught using technology-supported or traditional textbook instruction. Instructional groups' vocabulary test scores were compared using ANCOVA with pretest social studies vocabulary scores serving as the covariate. Results revealed that 5th grade ELL students in the technology-supported instruction group scored significantly higher on the social studies vocabulary posttest as compared to the traditional textbook instruction group. The findings of this study suggest that technology-supported instruction in social studies is an effective teaching approach for ELL students at the 5th grade level. This study could be used to guide future research in the areas of ELL language acquisition, content area learning and comprehension, and equitable instruction for all students.