Keyword Mnemonic Strategy: A Study of SAT Vocabulary in High School English




Dewitt, Kristina

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The purpose for this research study was to introduce and develop supplementary English material for SAT vocabulary instruction by providing memory-enhancing strategies for students with and without disabilities. Five inclusive English classrooms were assigned treatments in a within-subjects crossover design where all students received both treatment conditions – traditional instruction and mnemonic instruction. Memoryenhancing strategies are mnemonic devices that target specific vocabulary and provide additional practice using a visual representation to increase comprehension. Mnemonic devices assist students with encoding the new content information in order to make retrieval easier. Participants included 103 students in 10th through 12th grade, including 31 students with disabilities. Two general education teachers and two special education teachers participated in this study. Students received instruction in two units for four weeks and were pre and post tested on all vocabulary introduced. Students were given strategy use and satisfaction surveys. Attitudinal and satisfaction surveys were also given to teachers. Overall findings revealed that students with disabilities performed significantly better on delayed cumulative posttest. Tenth grade students in the mnemonic condition performed descriptively higher on delayed cumulative posttest than eleventh and twelth graders. The majority of students responded that, compared to traditional instruction, they preferred and enjoyed the use of mnemonic strategies as well as learned how to generalize to their own learning preferences. Teacher attitudes varied but mostly favored mnemonic instruction. Findings are discussed with respect to differences from previous research, implications for practice, and future research.



Vocabulary, Reading, Mnemonic strategy, Reading strategy, Inclusion, Memory