Vocabulary Instruction on Sesame Street: A Content Analysis of the Word on the Street Initiative Purpose Authors of this content analysis examined how Sesame Street's Word on the Street initiative aligns with research-based practices for selecting and teaching vocabulary to young children and considered how speech-language pathologists can use educational media to supplement traditional vocabulary instruction. Method Study authors used a well-established vocabulary ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2015
Vocabulary Instruction on Sesame Street: A Content Analysis of the Word on the Street Initiative
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anne L. Larson
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Naomi L. Rahn
    West Virginia University, Morgantown
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Anne L. Larson: lars4959@umn.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Masterson
    Associate Editor: Julie Masterson×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2015
Vocabulary Instruction on Sesame Street: A Content Analysis of the Word on the Street Initiative
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 207-221. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0079
History: Received August 30, 2014 , Revised December 23, 2014 , Accepted March 12, 2015
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 207-221. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0079
History: Received August 30, 2014; Revised December 23, 2014; Accepted March 12, 2015

Purpose Authors of this content analysis examined how Sesame Street's Word on the Street initiative aligns with research-based practices for selecting and teaching vocabulary to young children and considered how speech-language pathologists can use educational media to supplement traditional vocabulary instruction.

Method Study authors used a well-established vocabulary selection hierarchy to analyze 170 target words across 7 seasons of Word on the Street to judge appropriateness for preschool vocabulary instruction. The authors then coded vocabulary instruction across 96 episodes to determine frequency and types of teaching strategies used within this educational program.

Results Target word selection was appropriate in 77% of episodes. Some instructional strategies were used frequently (e.g., exposure to a word, examples, and nonexamples), whereas others were used rarely (e.g., definitions, active learning). Across episodes, there was substantial variability in how many opportunities children had to learn words.

Conclusions Vocabulary instruction during Word on the Street could be improved by targeting only high-utility words, maximizing learning opportunities during all segments, and increasing strategies that promote deep processing. Although research is needed to examine word learning during Word on the Street, speech-language pathologists may find selected segments targeting Tier 2 words useful for augmenting traditional intervention approaches.

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