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preschool students, vocabulary development, read alouds, nonfiction literature, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4


The preschool years are a crucial time for children to develop vocabulary knowledge. A quality preschool environment promotes large amounts of language usage including picture book read alouds and discussions. There is growing research to support the use of nonfiction literature in preschool classrooms to promote vocabulary growth and knowledge of the world for preschool children. This research study compared vocabulary growth of preschool children using fiction and dialogic discussions versus vocabulary growth of preschool children using nonfiction and dialogic discussions following a six week study of autumn and changes that happen during this season to the environment and animals. The quasi-experimental design used the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4, a curriculum-based measure for receptive vocabulary, and a curriculum-based measure for expressive vocabulary to assess vocabulary growth. Results showed that there was significant difference in the vocabulary growth in the treatment group indicated by the curriculum-based measure for receptive vocabulary, but the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4 and the curriculum-based measure for expressive vocabulary did not indicate significant difference in growth in the 6-week research period. The findings of this research have implications for teachers. Using nonfiction literature during read aloud times is beneficial to vocabulary growth. Dialogic discussions used with fiction and nonfiction read alouds provide authentic opportunities for students to use vocabulary in meaningful ways. In order to maximize vocabulary growth during the preschool years, teachers should be aware of the benefits of using nonfiction literature for interactive read alouds.


  • A dissertation submitted to the graduate faculty of the University of South Dakota in partial fulfillment for the degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION
  • Dr. Susan Gapp, Committee Chairperson
  • © 2014 Gwen R. Marra