Research Article  |   January 2013
Vocabulary Use Across Genres: Implications for Students With Complex Communication Needs
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sally A. Clendon
    Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Janet M. Sturm
    Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant
  • Kathleen S. Cali
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Correspondence to Sally Clendon: s.clendon@massey.ac.nz
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Joe Reichle
    Associate Editor: Joe Reichle×
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Article
Research Article   |   January 2013
Vocabulary Use Across Genres: Implications for Students With Complex Communication Needs
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools January 2013, Vol.44, 61-72. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/10-0112)
History: Accepted 26 Jun 2012 , Received 21 Dec 2010 , Revised 01 Jul 2011
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools January 2013, Vol.44, 61-72. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/10-0112)
History: Accepted 26 Jun 2012 , Received 21 Dec 2010 , Revised 01 Jul 2011

Purpose: This study examined the vocabulary words and multiword sequences used by 124 typically developing kindergarten and 1st-grade students when they wrote about self-selected topics. The study extends previous research by examining the vocabulary used in different genres.

Method: A total of 457 writing samples were analyzed. The samples were classified according to 9 genres and were analyzed using the Child Language Analysis (MacWhinney, 2006) software program.

Results: The authors found that 140 words represented 70% of the vocabulary produced. The most common genre types were narrative recounts and opinions. The patterns of frequency for words and multiword sequences varied across genres. The degree of variation was greater for particular vocabulary words. For instance, the word going was used predominantly in 1 genre. In contrast, the word mom was used in every genre except 3. The structure words tended to be used with high frequency across genres.

Conclusion: The word lists generated can be used to inform vocabulary selection, organization, and instruction for students with complex communication needs who are beginning writers.

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