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Morphological awareness and reading : theory, research and practice Rajabally, Soraya 2010-08

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MORPHOLOGICAL AWARENESS AND READING: THEORY,AND PRACTICEbySORAYA RAJABALLYB. Ed., University of British Columbia, 1999 B.Sc., University of British Columbia, 1997 A MAJOR PAPER IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATIONTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Language and Literacy EducationWe accept this major paper as conforming to the required standardinTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 2010 © Soraya Rajabally, 2010AbstractMorphological awareness refers to the ability to reflect on and manipulate morphemes and word formation rules in a language (Kuo & Anderson, 2006). This paper presents both a theoretical framework and current research on the relevance o f morphological awareness to reading achievement as well as to reading instruction. Additionally, it provides a synthesis o f empirical studies on the topic of morphological awareness and reading from a crosslinguistic perspective. Educational practices and implications to the classroom, based on the aforementioned theory and research findings, are also explored suggesting a need for explicit instruction o f derivational morphology in the second language classroom to assist students in breaking down single word meaning as well as to promote reading comprehension.TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract........................................................................................................................................... iiTable of contents................ :........................................................................................................ iiiAcknowledgments..............................................................................   vINTRODUCTION....................................................................   1Overview............................................................     lBackground to the paper:.................................................................................................1Research questions  ..............  4LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................................................................  4Factors involved in reading............................................................................................. 4Definition and types of morphology ........    5Morphological awareness and links to reading comprehension:For first language learners................................................................................. 5For second language learners—cross-linguistic influence.......................... .9Arguments against the unique contribution of morphological awareness 13Instruction in morphological awareness......................................................................14Explicit instruction....................................... 15CONNECTIONS TO CLASSROOM PRACTICE................................................................ 16AIntroducing the idea of word decomposition..................................  16Morpheme triangler...........................  17Explicitly listing common prefixes, suffixes, and roots........................................... 18Banque Murale and other activities............................................................................. 19Outcome from explicit instruction of morphology....................................................20CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................21Areas for further discussion/research.......................................................................... 21REFERENCES................................................................................................ ...........................23APPENDICES  ....................................................................   29Appendix A: Morpheme Triangle................................................................................29Banque Murale............................................................................................................... 29Appendix B: List o f prefixes....................................... ............................................... 30Appendix C: List o f suffixes.......................................................................................32Appendix D: List of roots............................................................................................33Appendix E: Questionnaire........................................................................................... 36I vowed for many years that I would not venture into the realm o f graduate studies, always feeling somewhat satisfied with what I had already achieved. All the while, however, I felt that I was destined for more. The discovery o f a small information pamphlet advertising a University o f British Columbia graduate studies program in my work mailbox sparked interest for the first time in the quest for higher education. It was with this find along with unwavering support and faith in my abilities from my husband, Mark, that I began my journey into the greater depth of academia.With his help and patience along with those o f my partner in crime Joy Hong, and professors, Monique Boumot-Trites, Meike Wemicke-Heinrichs, Isabelle Denizot, Martine Delsemme and Wendy Carr, I have made it through and, for this, I am eternally grateful. Thank you for believing in me.AKNOWLEDGEMENTSvSECTION 1: INTRODUCTION OverviewThis paper presents both a theoretical framework and current research on the relevance of morphological awareness to reading achievement as well as to reading instruction and is organized into four sections: introduction, literature review, connections to classroom practice, and conclusions. In the following section, morphology is defined as well as different types of morphology. Following this is a discussion of the development o f morphological awareness in first language learners and second language learners as well as an overview o f the research findings that suggest a strong link between morphological awareness and reading, a crosslinguistic transfer from English to French (and vice versa) and the promotion of morphological awareness through explicit classroom instruction. In section three, Connections to Classroom Practice, an approach to teaching students how to hone their metacognitive skills to help them deduce single word meaning and comprehend reading passages will be discussed. Finally a summary is provided that includes areas for further discussion and research.BackgroundI have taught French as a second language (FSL) in the Abbotsford school district in British Columbia for the last ten years. I teach Grade 9 to 12 Honours core French, and Advanced Placement (AP). The high school in which I teach is an institution known for its academic rigor. Enrolment in our school is popular with many students transferring from outside the catchment area in order to benefit from the academic programs offered.School results on high-stakes exams such as Ministry o f Education provincial exams and AP exams are important, and it is understood in our school that students will be academically successful. Although I do not always feel that exam results reflect what students have learned nor1J.necessarily what teachers have taught, I do want my students to succeed. Hence, success on these exams is o f importance to me.In a school year, I teach seven courses in a semestered system. For one course, I see students for 75-minute periods every school day over a five-month semester. My classes are predominantly composed o f 20 to 25 Honours students who are very motivated. O f these, some are former French (early or late) immersion students who are strongly motivated and others, a small minority, who are unmotivated or wish to be surrounded by others who display a willingness to learn. Most of my students, not including those with a French immersion background, have had virtually no exposure to the French language until Grade 9 when they enter my classroom.Having viewed my students’ results on past exams, it has become clear to me that they are more successful on oral and written tasks than they are on reading comprehension tasks. However, on some of the more difficult reading passages on both Ministry and AP exams, students' results are much lower. I take this as a personal reflection o f how I have taught reading in my core French classroom.I have observed in my classroom, during many reading assignments, that students often struggle on single words, and if they cannot deduce the meaning of the reading in context, they • are unable to comprehend the passage. They also frequently rely on the use of a dictionary when permitted. In one such observation, a Grade 10 student had difficulty with the French word boucherie. He was able to see the word boucher and knew its meaning but was not familiar with the suffix -ie which appears at the end of several locations (laiterie, epicerie, and so on) did not comprehend the word as a whole. Several other instances similar to the aforementioned have occurred throughout my teaching.2After asking several students how they felt about the Ministry or AP exam, many stated that they experienced great difficulty with certain words that were very important to the context o f the reading passages, and as a result were unable to understand the written document. Such words that I can recall from memory, included renouveler, atterrir and illisible. As I probed further, it seemed apparent that they were unable to decode the meaning using metalinguistic skills to break down the word into its parts. For example, illisible can be broken down in the following way: /7=the opposite, lis= from the verb lire, and ible=abh (unreadable).Since my students are at the high school level, they have already learned to read in their first language, which for most has been English. Hence they should already have some skills to decompose a word to determine its meaning. Additionally, there are several words in French that greatly resemble their English equivalents. Nonetheless, many demonstrate an inability to deduce the meaning from a word by breaking it down into smaller parts, perhaps, as a result of not knowing what those smaller parts are in French.After having started my Masters in modem language education, metalinguistic awareness in decoding word meaning and the strategies involved interested me greatly especially since I felt there was a direct link to the problem with which my students were faced. More specifically, the role o f morphological awareness seemed important because of its relation to word meaning and reading achievement. Research suggests that knowledge of word parts, such as prefixes, suffixes and roots (word families) help students to apply metalinguistic skills to better decode andcomprehend single words as well as larger reading passages (for example, Carlisle, 2000; Kuo &\Anderson, 2006; and Singson, Mahony & Mann, 2000). If I am able to model and teach effective strategies for my students to break down single words in order to deduce meaning, they may3experience more success with reading tasks hence achieving a higher general literacy across the curriculum.Research questionsI believe that my students will learn with effective instruction and I take it as a personal shortcoming of my practice if the majority of them do not succeed on certain linguistic tasks such as reading comprehension. Therefore, given my interest in improving student reading achievement, I would like to explore the following questions:1. How does explicit instruction o f derivational morphology affect student metalinguistic skills facilitating comprehension of single words as well as reading passages?2. What is the nature o f cross-linguistic influence of English to French in the decoding o f single words?)SECTION 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Factors involved in reading“The act of reading is an attempt to decode meaning in order to comprehend the words one sees in print” (Dynamic Literacy, 2008, ^  2). Research to date suggests that there are some main factors involved in the development o f reading. First, there are numerous studies implicating that phonological awareness, or the ability to access sound units in spoken words, plays a major role in reading achievement (Adams, 1990; Goswani & Bryant, 1990; National Reading Panel, 2000; Snow, Bums, & Griffin, 1998). Second, there is evidence to support the importance o f orthographic knowledge, or “the knowledge o f the regularities o f the visual and4orthographic aspects o f print, in learning to read” (Roman, Kirby, Parrila, Wade-Woolley & Deacon, 2009). Naming speed or rapid automatized naming, which refers to the speed at which children are able to name certain sets o f stimuli, is a third variable found in reading development (Cutting & Denckla, 2001; Kirby, Parilla, & Pfeiffer, 2003; Scarborough, 1998; Wolf & Bowers, 1999). A fourth variable implicated in reading development is that o f morphological awareness. Less research exists on this factor, however its link to reading has become a topic o f interest over the last 10 years (Carlisle, 1995; Carlisle & Normanbhoy, 1993; Deacon & Kirby, 2004; Leong, 1989; Mahoney, 1994; Singson, Mahony, & Mann, 2000; Tyler & Nagy, 1989).Definition and types of morphology Morphological awareness refers to a “conscious awareness o f the morphemic structure of words and their ability to reflect on and manipulate that structure” (Carlisle, 1995, p. 194). Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in a word. Words can be either morphologically simple (a single morpheme) or complex (more than one morpheme). As well, morphemes can be either lexical (with semantic meaning) or grammatical (inflectional or derivational) (Gombert, Cole, Valdois, Goigoux, Mousty & Fayol, 2000). Inflectional morphology refers to the “systematic marking of grammatical function on a word stem required by the syntax (for example, I tum-> she turns; one book-> two books)” (Kuo & Anderson, 2006, p. 163). Derivational morphology involves “the addition of a morpheme to change the part o f speech or the meaning of a base morpheme (for example, explain-> explanation)” (Kuo & Anderson, 2006, p. 163).The role of morphology in reading achievement for first language learnersIn 1970, Brittain was the first to show that, in English, there was a link between morphological awareness and a general reading achievement for 7- and 8-year old children.5Brittain assessed inflections o f Grade 1 and 2 students, examining whether inflectional morphological awareness was related to reading achievement. His findings showed a significant partial correlation between inflectional awareness and reading achievement. He further posited that this relationship remained unchanged following a control for general intelligence. He also noted that the correlation was stronger for Grade 2 students than for Grade 1 students.More current research suggests that there could be a very strong association between reading development and morphological awareness (Carlisle & Nomanbhoy, 1993; Deacon & Kirby, 2004; Mahony, Singson, & Mann, 2000; Singson, Mahony, & Mann, 2000). In 2000, Mahony et al. determined that morphological awareness accounted for approximately 5 percent o f the variance in reading, while controlling for verbal short-term memory. In addition to this, it was determined that morphological awareness accounted for 4 percent in word reading in addition to the 37 percent accounted for by phonological awareness (Carlisle & Nomanbhoy, 1993). Further results from Carlisle (1995) show that there is involvement of morphological awareness in early real word and pseudoword (a pronounceable combination o f letters that is not an actual word, such as him or toa f in English) reading achievement in addition to phonological awareness and both verbal and nonverbal intelligence. Specifically, Carlisle’s results suggest that, in Grade 2, morphological awareness contributed significantly to reading achievement. Additionally and more recently, Deacon and Kirby (2004) showed that morphological awareness o f children in Grade 2 contributed unique variance to their pseudoword and real word reading skill from Grade 3 to 5 after controlling statistically for phonological awareness as well as both verbal and nonverbal intelligence.Carlisle (2000) explored the impact of morphological awareness on reading, more specifically, the metalinguistic skill to read derived forms (multimorphemic words) and its6relationship to reading comprehension. She also studied morphological awareness as it contributes to reading. According to Carlisle, morphological awareness “must have as its basis the ability to parse words and analyze constituent morphemes for the purpose of constructing meaning” (p. 170). In this study, Grades 3 and 5 middle school students participated in a battery o f tests including the Word Reading Test that measured the ability to read morphologically complex words. A second measure was the Test o f  Morphological Structure that tested students’ awareness o f the base and derived forms. The Test o f  Absolute Vocabulary Knowledge involved an interview in which the student was given a word, asked to give the meaning of the word, use it in a sentence and, when needed, pick the meaning from a multiple-choice set. A final measure used in the study was the Comprehension Testing Program that involved the reading o f short passages to answer comprehension questions. Based on the results, Carlisle suggests that morphological awareness contributes significantly to reading comprehension for both Grades 3 and 5 students. Carlisle further proposes that older students have a more developed morphological awareness due to “greater exposure to complex words in print and more opportunity to learn to use morphological decomposition and problem solving as an aid to reading” (p. 186).More than 50 percent o f the English language is composed of morphologically complex words (Nagy, Beminger, & Abbott, 2006). It has been suggested that older children, with a more developed morphological awareness, may be better able to gain and retain words that are morphologically complex (Carlisle, 1995; Mahony et al., 2000; Singson et al., 2000). As well, after studying students in Grades 4, 6 and 8 (aged 10, 12 and 14 years), Roman et al. (2009)suggest that morphological awareness contributes uniquely to real word and pseudoword readingi .7for older readers. Deacon and Kirby (2004) further maintain that the role of morphological awareness in reading development is relatively consistent across Grades 3 to 5.Studies o f reading achievement in languages other than English reinforce the link between morphological awareness and reading achievement. Rispen, McBride-Chang, and Reitsma’s (2007) study in Denmark suggests that a focus on inflectional (gender/number), as well as derivational (prefix/suffix) morphological awareness facilitates children’s reading performance throughout primary school. Kuo and Anderson’s (2006) study in Chinese suggest that morphological awareness contributes to the decoding of morphologically complex words and contributes to the development of reading comprehension, though the study posits that this relationship is probably reciprocal rather than unidirectional. Another Chinese study (Wu, Anderson, Li, Wu, Li, Zhang, Zheng, Zhu, Shu, Jiang, Chen, Wang, Yin, He, Packard, & Gaffney, 2009) further demonstrates that morphological awareness leads to growth in literacy achievement and that, as children begin to master basic literacy, the relationship between morphological awareness and literacy becomes “mutually supportive reciprocal causation” (p. 49).In French, 80 percent o f words are composed of more than one morpheme. The understanding and awareness that words are multimorphemic facilitates reading and comprehension for children whose first language is French (Gombert et al., 2000). The authors further suggest that, at the age of 6, children master the essentials o f phonological inflections in French such as gender, number, verb tense, and so on, and that a derivational morphological awareness o f the French language occurs later. A longitudinal study by Casalis and Louis- Alexandre (2000) o f Kindergarten to Grade 2 French students from an urban school in France was conducted to determine how morphological awareness develops and how it is linked with8reading acquisition. The results of the study showed that derivational morphological awareness develops during the first two years o f school. Students successfully applied derivational rules less than 50 percent o f the time. The authors state that, “the ability to segment a morpheme .is far from mastered in Grade 2” (p. 329). On inflectional morphological tasks (except for pseudowords) performance was very high. Their research findings support those o f Gombert et al. (2000) suggesting that derivational tasks develop later than inflectional tasks and that there is a correlation between morphological development and learning to read. It appeared that, for Grades 1 and 2 students, morphological analysis accounted for a significant part o f variance in both decoding and reading comprehension. In Kindergarten, morphological analysis was a predictor of reading level in Grades 1 and 2. Data from a longitudinal study by Cole, Royer, Leuwers, and Casalis (2004) o f French students from Grades 1 and 2 showed that the reading level in French attained by beginning Grade 1 students is associated with their morphological awareness.The role of morphology in reading achievement for second language learners: The cross-linguistic influenceThere are several studies suggesting that there is a cross-linguistic relationship between the learning of a first language and that o f a second language. In a study involving participants whose first language (LI) was English, Schiff and Calif (2007) showed that the reading of Hebrew words as a second language (L2) correlated with English word reading. Additionally, Hebrew morphological awareness predicted English word reading. These results confirm previous studies relating LI proficiency to L2 competence and L2 reading skills (Brown & Haynes, 1985; Koda, 1987). This cross-linguistic correlation is further corroborated by Da9Fontura and Siegel (1995); Durgunoglu (1998); Durgunoglu, Peynircioglu, and Mir (2002); Geva, Wade-Woolley, and Shany (1997); and Wiss (1993).There are few studies o f morphological awareness related to childhood biliteracy. Droop and Verhoeven (1998) explored first and second-language learners o f Dutch in Grade 3. They suggested a relationship between morphological and syntactic manipulation and Dutch reading comprehension. Similar to first language learners, these second language learners seemed to be using morphological skills when reading their second language. In 2004, Bindman studied whether or not morphological knowledge was crosslinguistic by having English learners of Hebrew from the age o f 6 to 10 perform morphological and syntactic tasks, such as word analogy and sentence cloze tasks (a Cloze task consists o f a portion o f text with certain words removed, where the participant is asked to replace the missing words). He found relationships between the two languages and morphological awareness while controlling for age and vocabulary. Wang, Cheng, and Chen’s (2006) study on a biliterate population focused on the role morphological awareness in the acquisition of reading skills among Chinese learners learning English in Grade 2 and 4. The. authors suggest that English morphological abilities measured using a compounding task (a task involving words that are composed or two or more elements that are themselves independent words, for example loudspeaker) were linked to Chinese single word reading and reading comprehension. However, they also reported that this result was not bidirectional; in other words, morphological knowledge of Chinese was not linked with English reading comprehension.One study was found linking the role o f morphological awareness and reading achievement in French immersion children. Deacon, Wade-Woolley and. Kirby (2007) examined the crosslinguistic contributions o f morphological awareness to the development o f reading in10children who are learning to read two languages. Their study involved three questions: Is the role o f morphological awareness in reading, established in monolingual populations, also found in populations of children who are developing biliteracy? Does morphological awareness assessed in one language transfer to the reading o f another language? and, Does the quantity and the source of the contributing factors to reading achievement change over time?The participants involved in this longitudinal study in Eastern Ontario, Canada, were children beginning in Grade 1 and continuing until the end of Grade 3. They reflected a range of socioeconomic situations but were all from English-speaking homes. These students came from six elementary schools and were enrolled in French immersion classes. The majority began their French immersion studies in Kindergarten while some began in Grade 1. There were 76 students at the start o f the study but only 58 remained at the end of the three years. O f the sample, 38 were girls and 20 were boys. At the time of the first testing, the mean age of the participants was 6 years and 4 months. All the data were taken at the beginning and end of each grade for Grades 1, 2 and 3 (six testing periods). The English and French tests were administered individually on different days and in separate sessions. Instructions for all tasks were in English while practice and test items were administered in the language o f the individual task (either English or French). The English test always preceded the French, and the tests were administered in the same order in each language. Measures were taken in English vocabulary (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test), nonverbal analogical reasoning (Matrix Analogies Test-Short Form), phonological awareness (phoneme—counting task), English reading {Woodcock Word Identification Task), and French reading {French Immersion Achievement Test). English morphological awareness was measured with a sentence analogy task in which past tense and present tenses were manipulated. French morphological awareness was measured with a sentence11analogy task in which past tense and present tense verbs were manipulated. Means, standard deviations and ranges for the raw scores for vocabulary and matrix analogies in Grade 1 and for phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and reading ability in Grades 1, 2 and 3 were calculated and tabled. Correlations between all the aforementioned measures were also calculated and tabled. The results for each of the aforementioned questions will now be discussed.Is the role o f  morphological awareness in reading, established in monolingual populations, also found  in populations o f  children who are developing biliteracy?The results of Deacon et al.’s (2007) study suggest that morphological knowledge has a role in reading with each language (French and English). The measure for English morphological awareness in Grade 1 contributes a stable 10 percent variance in reading in English across Grades 1 to 3, after controlling for phonological awareness, vocabulary, and nonverbal intelligence. Later contributions o f English morphological awareness were insignificant.However the contributions o f within-language of morphological awareness in French increased ffom'moderate early to substantial later contributions, moving from 6 percent to 16 percent over the three years o f the study. The size o f the contributions made by morphological awareness in Grade 3 was greater than those made by phonological awareness. Later measures of this morphological awareness in French were strongly linked with reading achievement in that language. Contrarily, in English, it appeared as though early measures o f morphological awareness contributed to reading achievement in English.Does morphological awareness assessed in one language transfer to the reading o f  another language?12The results provide strong evidence that there is a cross-linguistic transfer of morphological awareness to reading achievement. Early measures o f English morphological awareness contributed to reading in French, and later measures o f French morphological awareness made an impact on reading in English.Does the quantity and the source o f  the contributing factors to reading achievement change over time?The Grade 1 French measure was predictive solely of the Grade 1 French reading. It did not reveal any longitudinal or crosslinguistic effects. Deacon et al. (2007) found that later measures in French morphological awareness contributed to reading achievement. Their results further suggest that morphological awareness appears to “teeter-totter in its relationship withreading; as contributions form the first language decrease, those from the second language)increase” (p.741). The authors’ research shows that morphological awareness plays a role in the reading development o f bilingual children. The authors acknowledge the limitation that the study used only one measure that explored past tense transformations in a sentence analogy task and suggest that there is a need for future studies to expand on the types o f morphological skills under investigation.Arguments against the unique contribution of morphological awareness and readingachievementIt should be noted that the assertion that morphological awareness contributes uniquely to reading achievement is contested. There are several arguments suggesting the primacy of phonological awareness in reading development (Carlisle, 1987, 1988; Carlisle & Nomanbhoy, 1993; Fowler & Liberman, 1995; Windsor, 2000). Though many of the aforementioned studies controlled for phonology, there is no denying that phonological insights are connected with13morphological insights (McCutchen, Green, & Abbott, 2008). Early morphological knowledge involves the recognition that similar (not always identical) phonological patterns are related to similar meanings across orally stated words. Research suggests that the phonological relationship between basic words and their derivational forms can affect the degree to which morphological relationships are recognized and manipulated (Carlisle & Nomanbhoy, 1993). According to Gombert et al. (2000), words can be either transparent phonologically (act/active— act pronounced the same) or opaque phonologically (sign/signature— sign pronounced differently). The base o f the latter undergoes stress and/or phonological changes when combined with the suffix, giving the spelling a more important role in signaling the relationship across meanings (McCutchen et al., 2008). Research also suggests that phonological transparency augments the speed and accuracy with which children identify relationships between base words and derivations (Carlisle, 1987, 1988; Carlisle & Nomanbhoy, 1993; Fowler, Liberman & Feldman, 1995; Windsor, 2000). Carlisle and Stone (2005), and Carlisle, Stone and Katz (2001) hypothesized that children and adults read morphemically complex words (more than one morpheme) more efficiently when they are phonologically transparent than opaque. Some researchers further argue that phonological awareness is a critical contributor to reading achievement and that any relationship between morphological awareness and reading development is merely as a result o f the innate relationship between morphology and phonology (Fowler & Liberman, 1995; Windsor, 2000).Instruction in morphological awareness Larsen and Nippold (2007) investigated how well school-aged children “could use morphological analysis to explain the meaning o f words. They used a Dynamic Assessment Task o f  Morphological Analysis in which student were asked questions about word meaning. The14results show that some children readily made use of morphological analysis to explain the meanings of unfamiliar words. However, many others required far more adult scaffolding or instructional help to be successful. The authors suggest that it is essential 'for schools and curricula to have specific learning outcomes that examine knowledge of derivational morphology as well as provide students with the tools necessary to accomplish this task: “Knowledge of derivational morphemes and the ability to analyze them to determine the meanings o f unfamiliar words is an important aspect o f language development in school-aged children and adolescents” (p.201). They further hypothesize that word identification and reading comprehension could be improved with explicit instruction and practice geared towards morphemic analysis.Moats (1994) conducted a survey o f teacher knowledge,in which it was found that many teachers were unaware of what inflection or derivational forms are, and she makes a powerful statement:Especially since the demise of Latin in the high-school curriculum, it has been uncommon for instructional materials in word recognition, vocabulary, and spelling to systematically explicate the structural components o f words and morphological relationships among words. Yet knowledge of word meaning, rapid word recognition, and spelling ability greatly depend on knowledge of word structure at the level of morphemes. Familiarity with morphology is essential for teachers who give instruction in advanced word recognition, vocabulary, and spelling from third grade on. (Moats,1994, p. 59)Explicit instructionThe aforementioned supports the importance of morphological awareness in reading hence explicit instruction o f this morphology can be used as a valuable pedagogical tool. Hall15(2002) describes explicit instruction as providing guided instruction in the basic understanding of required skills on which students can build through practice. According to Hall, explicit instruction includes a series of steps: setting a purpose for learning, telling students what to do, showing them how to do it and guiding their application o f the new learning. It begins with the teacher setting the scene for learning. Then, a clear explanation of what students must do (telling) is provided. Following this, the teacher models the process (showing the students) and finally, the students are provided with multiple opportunities for practice (guiding), until independence is attained. Explicit instruction moves systematically from extensive teacher input and little student responsibility initially, to total student responsibility and minimal teacher involvement at the conclusion o f the learning cycle. Hall refers to Adams and Engelmann’s (1996) study reviewing 350 publications pertaining to explicit instruction, and all suggest that, as a teaching strategy, explicit instruction is highly effective.SECTION 3: CONNECTIONS TO CLASSROOM PRACTICEThis review of the literature reveals clearly that there is a strong link between morphological awareness and reading achievement and further suggests that there is a need for teachers to be educated in derivational as well as inflectional morphology so that they may better assist their students with word decomposition. In the following section o f this paper, I explore specific practices in my core French classroom that have been used to help students improve their metalinguistic skills in breaking down an unfamiliar word to deduce its meaning as well as to improve the students’ overall reading achievement.Introducing the idea of word decomposition16In order to introduce the notion o f breaking down an unfamiliar word into familiar parts, I used an English example, such as the word “transformation”. Students were asked to define the word and look at the different parts such as trans, form  and ation. By making them aware of the different parts o f the word they were encouraged to deduce meaning from each part. I also guided them to make an educated guess as to what type of word it was (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and so on). This entire procedure is intended merely to get students thinking about the fact that some larger words have multiple parts that might each have meaning. By thinking about what these parts mean, students may be able to deduce the meaning of an unfamiliar word, and this may assist them in their reading comprehension. The idea appears to be simple enough, but it was shocking to find out from a questionnaire (Appendix E) that many o f my students never thought to breakdown an unfamiliar French word into parts, such as prefix, suffix and root, to help them deduce the word meaning. In fact, when I questioned them orally as to how they decipher the meaning of an unfamiliar English or French word, many students indicated that theydo not breakdown the word into meaningful parts. Fewer students stated that they often try to see\if  the unfamiliar multimorphemic French word resembles an English cognate. A large number of students did indicate that when all else fails in terms o f determining the meaning of a word, they are left with looking at the context of the entire reading passage to deduce meaning. Few students resort to guessing the meaning of an unfamiliar French term.Morpheme triangleFollowing this introduction to breaking down words into meaning-filled parts, I presented my students with a “morpheme triangle” (Winter, 2009). By displaying a word in the center o f a triangle on the board and dividing this word into parts of the triangle (Appendix A), I demonstrated that a target word such as transporter, in French, can be visually split into17morpheme parts such as prefix, root and suffix. Hence, trans is the prefix, port is the root, and er the suffix. Each word part was represented in a corner o f the morpheme triangle. The intent behind presenting the morpheme triangle was two-fold: first, to introduce the students to the terminology o f prefix, suffix and root while presenting them with an example and second, to promote and guide students into further inquiry of words that also have these similar parts. For example, next to the triangle comer with trans, students were asked to list additional words that ' contained this element. Words such as transferer, transport, and transportation were mentioned and written down on the board. For the suffix er, the words regarder, parler, and danser, were suggested by students. Hence, I was able to make them connect the suffix er to verbs in French. For the root port, students provided examples such as porter, “portable”, and importer. Here again, I was able to guide them to the understanding that port could mean to carry. To lead them further down the path o f meaning, I proposed the words trance and Portugal as each containing a similar part (trans/port). I. asked them if these two words related in any way to the meaning of the parts presented in the triangle. Following a few seconds o f pondering, they decided that these words were unrelated. Hence, they were made to see that not all words containing similar parts (morphemes) will have the same meaning.Explicitly listing common prefixes, suffixes, and roots Once I had students actively thinking about the idea that big, unfamiliar words can often be broken down into prefixes, roots and suffixes, I provided them with commonly used lists of each as well as their meaning (Appendices B-D). For example, for the prefixes, anti, and bi, meanings such as against and two were provided on paper, along with example words containingthe prefixes such as antihygienique and bicolore. Similar lists were provided for suffixes and\roots.18There were approximately 70 prefixes, 15 suffixes and 71 roots provided. Ten such parts were explored with example words on a weekly basis. Approximately nine weeks were required to sufficiently explore all the information provided on the lists.Banque murale and other activities In addition to reviewing the lists and providing examples, other activities occurred in the classroom, such as Banque murale (adapted from Tomkins & Blanchfield, 2004) which involves a grid o f multimorphemic French words resembling that o f a BINGO card (Appendix A). Eachword has a specific number and colour and, when called on explicitly by the teacher, students\have to determine the meaning of the word by actively breaking down the word into its constituent parts (prefix, root, suffix). This activity took 15 to 25 minutes and, from lesson to lesson, I changed the words in order to accommodate the prefixes, suffixes, and/or roots covered in class. Ultimately, the goal o f this activity was for students to break down those words that they may never have seen in French into meaningful parts in order to deduce their meaning.Additional activities involved having students working in groups to establish a list of words that corresponded to the prefixes, suffixes or roots covered that day in class. I often did this by selecting ten different morphemes and making it a competition to see which group could come up with the most interesting but accurate list of words containing the morphemes, as well as the definitions for the words they selected. I often let students use a dictionary for this activity. A variation to this was to have them invent their own words using the lists provided and points were awarded to the most creative words.It is important to note that in all of these activities students were encouraged to try to find cognates or words that resembled English in the multimorphemic French words presented to them.19Outcome from explicit instruction of morphologyFollowing a questionnaire (Appendix E) and field notes taken during group or independent student work throughout the ten weeks of the aforementioned activities, distinct observations were made. During conversations between students in groups, initially there didn’t appear to be any discussion o f word parts and meaning. Students were looking at the word as a whole and trying to deduce its meaning. At this point, I would intervene to suggest that students break down the word into meaningful parts and model it form them with examples. Further, I observed that several students weren’t trying to link unfamiliar words in French to English cognates. I shared this observation with them and assisted them in connecting French multimorphemic words to English cognates. Hence, through this process of encouraging students to break down words into meaningful parts as well as to try to make links to English, many students were actively engaging in these two strategies by the end o f the ten weeks.Immediately after administering the questionnaire and before any specific explicit instruction o f morphology had occurred, single multimorphemic French words were presented to the students in the beginning o f the ten weeks as well as a reading passage containing several large unfamiliar French words. Students were asked to define the words as well as answer somejcomprehension questions pertaining to the passage. As well, they were asked to explain how they figured out each word definition. Many stated they had guessed or did not know. Following the ten weeks of explicit instruction, students were asked to define the same set o f words and answer the same passage comprehension questions. Students appeared to be able to define the terms with more accuracy by either breaking words down into prefixes, roots and suffixes or relating the French word to cognates.20SECTION 4: CONCLUSIONThrough my review o f the literature and my personal practice in the classroom, I feel I have addressed my research questions:1. How does explicit instruction of derivational morphology affect student metalinguistic skills facilitating comprehension of single words as well as reading passages?2. What is the nature o f cross-linguistic influence of English to French in the decoding of single words?A plethora o f research suggests that morphological awareness contributes to the decoding of morphologically complex words and contributes, reciprocally, to the development o f reading comprehension. Furthermore, research suggests that some form of explicit instruction to help students hone their metalinguistic skills assists them in decoding. The results o f my students on pre- and post-tasks suggest that my practice involving explicit instruction o f prefixes, roots and suffixes, the morpheme triangle, and modeling stategies to break down unfamiliar words, as well as student group activities such as banque murale and group games to either deduce the meaning of multimorphemic French terms or invent terms, supports the aforementioned research. It provides some evidence o f the importance of explicit instruction to assist students in decoding larger unfamiliar words. As well, guiding students to make connections between English and French as they try to decipher word meaning is critical.To conclude, it is clear that some form of explicit instruction in derivational morphology is required for students to effectively tap into their metalinguistic ability to break down words into morphemes and to deduce meaning.Areas for further discussion/research21The role of morphological awareness in literacy acquisition cannot be ignored. The literature indicates that students, as early as Grade 1, can benefit from learning about morphemic representation in the written language. Research further suggests that educators need to include more word study incorporating morphemes into reading programs. An area for further inquiry is the role of morphological awareness in reading for middle school or high school-aged students. Finally, another valuable topic for study is the role of morphological awareness when learning to read French as a second language.22REFERENCESAdams, M. (1990). Beginning to read. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Adams, G.L., & Engelmann, S. (1996). Research in direct instruction: 25 years beyond DISTAR. Seattle, WA: Educational Achievement Systems.Bindman, M. (2004). Grammatical awareness across languages and the role o f social context: Evidence from English and Hebrew. In T. Nunes & P. Bryant (Eds7), Handbook o f  children’s literacy (pp. 691-709). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.Brittain, M. (1970). Inflectional performance and early reading achievement. Reading Research Quarterly, 6, 34-48.Brown, T., & Haynes, M. (1985). Literacy background and reading development in a second language. In H. Carr (Ed.) The development o f  reading skills (pp. 19-34). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Carlisle, J.F. (1987). 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Altarriba (Eds.), Sentence processing in bilinguals (pp. 299-316). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Dynamic Literacy.(2008) The role o f  morphology in reading instruction. Retrieved 28 March, 2009, from 0Paper.pdfFowler, A., & Liberman, I. (1995). The role of phonology and orthography in morphological awareness. In L.B. Feldman (Ed.), Morphological aspects o f  language processing (pp. 157-188). (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Geva, E., Wade-Woolley, L., & Shany, M. (1997). Development o f reading efficiency in first and second language. Scientific Studies o f  Reading, 1(2), 119-144.Gombert, E., Cole, P., Valdois, S., Goigoux, R., Moutsy, P., & Fayol, M. (2000). Enseigner la lecture au cycle 2. Paris, France. Nathan Pedagogie.25Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. (1990). Phonological skills and learning to read. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum.Hall, T. (2002). Explicit instruction. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved July 20, 2009 from ncac explicit.htmlKirby, J.R., Parrila, R., & Pfeiffer, S. (2003). Naming speed and phonological processing as predictors of reading development. Journal o f  Educational Psychology, 95, 453-464.Koda, K. (1987). Cognitive process in second language reading: Transfer o f LI reading skills and strategies. Second Language Research, 4, 133-156.Kuo, L., & Anderson, R. (2006). Morphological awareness and learning to read: a cross­language perspective. Educational Psychology, 41(3), 161-180.Larsen, J.A., & Nippold, M.A. (2007). Morphological analysis in school-aged children: dynamic assessment o f a word learning strategy. Language, Speech, and Hearing in Schools, 38, 201-212.Leong, C.K. (1989). Productive knowledge o f derivational rules in poor readers. Annals o f  Dyslexia, 39, 94-115.Mahoney, D. (1994). Using sensitivity to word structure to explain variance in high school and college level reading ability. 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Scientific Studies o f  Reading, 73(1), 26-52.28Appendix A: Morpheme TriangleTable 1: Banque Murale1 transporter hypernerveux inserer insensible2 bicyclette refaire circonference immigre3 exporter anormal cooperative inattaquable4 malformation peri metre bienfaisant quadrimoteur5 postdater perforer parcourir reformerrouge bleu orange vertThe teacher will call on students by asking for the completion of certain tasks such as:-donne un antonyme de VERT #1 (which is “insensible”), (answer=sensible)-donne une definition de “refaire” (answer=redo)-fais une phrase avec_______(teacher gives a colour and number and student states a sentence)-donne les coordonees d ’un mot qui veut dire “redo”? (answer= bleu 2)29Appendix B: Des prefixesDes principaux prefixes d’origine latine:Prefixes Sens1. a-, ac-, af-, al-, ar-, at- towards,2. ambi- from both sides3. ante-, anti- in front, before4. bi- two5. circum- around6. centi- hundred, one hundredth7. co-, col-, con- with, together8. contre- against9. de-, des-, dis-, di- by separating10. demi- half11. deci- ten, a tenth12. e-, ef-, ex-, es- without13. en-, em- in14. en-, em- from there15. entre- in the middle, half way16. equi- equal17. extra- outside of18. in-, im- in19. im-, in-, il-, ir- the opposite20. infra- under21. inter- between22. intra- inside of23. intro- inside24. juxta- next to25. mal-, mau- poorly, bad (not)26. mi- from the middle, half27. multi- many, several28. milli- thousand, one thousandth29. non- not30. outre- beyond31. omni- all32. par- across, by33. pluri- many, several34. post- after3035. pour- in front, in the place of, for36. pre- before, in front37. pro- in favour of38. quadri- four39. quasi- approximately40. re-, re- again, repeat41. retro- behind, from the past42. semi- half, halfway43. sou- under, underneath44. sous- under, less45. sub- under, a bit46. sur- over, on top47. super-, supra- on top of, above48. trans- across49. tre-, tres- across, beyond50. tri- three51. uni- one, only52. ultra- beyond, very53. vice­ in place ofDes principaux prefixes d’origine qrecque1. a-, an- absence2. amphi- around3. anti-, ante- against4. archi-, arch- superior, better5. di-/dipl- two, double6. dys- bad7. epi- on, on top8. eu- good, well9. hemi- h a lf .10. hyper- beyond, in excess11. hypo- below, not enough12. iso- same, equal13. meta- change14. pan-/panto- all15. para- next to, beside16. peri- around17. syn-, sym-, sys- together, reunion31Appendix C: Des suffixesSuffixes Sens1. e,es, ons, ez, ent, ais, ait, ai, ant, e, er, re, oir, ir, etc....verb2. e, esse, se.... etc... feminine3.-ment adverb4. s, x plural5. -able, -ible quality/fault/ad j ecti ve6. -ade noun7. -age noun8. -ation noun9. -ateur profession,object10. -atre quality11. -ier object, job, tree12.-erie location13. -eron profession14. -ique pertaining to, about15. -iste job, quality32Les racines latinesAppendix D: Les racines les plus utilisees en fran9aisRacines Sens1. agri field2. calori heat3. cide that which kills4. fere that which carries, transports or contains5. fique that produces/makes6. forme that has the shape of7. frigori cold8. fuge that which escapes/leaves9. grade by degrees10. omni all11. pare to bring in the world12. pede foot13. vore that eatsLes racines grecquesRacine Sens1. aero air2. agro field3. algie pain4. anthropo man5. archeo old, ancient6. auto by one self7. biblio book8. bio life9. chrome colour10. cinema movement11. cosmo world12. cyclo wheel13. dactylo finger14. demo people15. drome course, obstacle course16. dynamo power, force3317. electro electricity18. geo earth19. gone angle20. gramme weight, letter21. graphe that writes, writing22. hemo blood23. hemi a half24. hippo horse25. homo same, similar26. hydro water27. kilo thousand28. litho rock, stone29. logie, logue science, study of30. mane, manie that is crazy, crazy31. metro measure32. micro small33. mono alone, single34. morphe forme, shape35. neo new36. neuro, nevr nerve37. nome, nomie that studies, law38. onyme noun,word39. ortho right, law40. patho pain41. pedie education42. pedo child43. phage that eats44. philo, phile that likes45. phobie, phobe fear, fear or46. phono, phone sound47. photo light48. poly many, several49. psycho mind, spirit50. pyro fire51.scope to help see52. techno science, art53. tele far54. therapie care, cure55. thermo heat3456. topo location, place57. xeno strange58. zoo animal35l. When I see a French word in a sentence that I have never seen before, I figure out its meaning by:a) doing nothing, I just skip it and forget it.all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverb) guessingall of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverI.c) seeing if the word looks like a word in English that I know.all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverd) rereading the word/sentence more slowly to try to figure out the meaning.all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely nevere) looking at where the word is placed in the sentence to figure out if it is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverf) breaking down the word into parts like prefix, suffix, roots, and trying to figure it out from there.all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverg) trying to piece together the meaning of the sentence/paragraph and then coming back to the word to decide its meaning (in context).all of the time most of the time some of the time rarely neverAppendix E: Questionnaire36


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