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EIU: Research in Action

Volume VIII: 2018

Christina Gherna

Using Marzano’s Six Steps to Vocabulary Instruction in a Fourth Grade Classroom

The purpose of this study was to determine if Marzano’s six steps to vocabulary instruction had a positive effect on vocabulary knowledge compared to the Wonders reading curriculum method used in a fourth grade classroom. The researcher also wanted to find out if Marzano’s method was more effective for low achieving readers compared to high achieving readers. It was hypothesized that low achieving readers would have a higher increase in vocabulary knowledge when Marzano's steps were used for instruction and that high achieving readers would have an increase regardless of the method used. Two research questions guided this study: Does using Marzano’s six steps to vocabulary instruction increase low achieving students’ vocabulary knowledge? And does using Marzano’s six steps to vocabulary instruction increase high achieving students’ vocabulary knowledge? Twenty-two fourth grade students from one classroom, ages nine and ten, participated in the study for six weeks. Participants were given a pretest and post-test each week of the study. The researcher used the Wonders reading curriculum the first three weeks and Marzano’s method the last three weeks. Out of the 22 participants in the study, 40% made greater gains when Marzano’s method was used. When lookingat the low achieving group and the high achieving group of participants, 25% of low achieving readers made greater gains and 57% of high achieving readers made greater gains when Marzano’s method was used.

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More about Christina

Christina Gherna

Educational Background: I graduated from Eastern Illinois University in May 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in science. In June of 2014 I began working on a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Later in 2014 I earned the Gifted Education Teacher Endorsement. In 2015 I earned the Middle School Endorsement and in 2017 I earned the Reading Teacher Certificate. I graduated with a Master’s in Elementary Education in May 2018.

Teaching Background: I began my teaching career in the Catholic school system in 1996. I taught Kindergarten in Westville, Illinois for a year and in Peoria, Illinois for two years. I took time off to be at home with my young children and returned to the classroom in 2003 to teach Kindergarten at a Christian elementary school in Monticello, Illinois. In 2006, I joined the ranks of public school teachers at St. Joseph Grade School in St. Joseph, Illinois. I taught first grade there for 10 years and have been teaching fourth grade for the past two years.

Impact of the Master's Program: I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to complete my Master’s degree at Eastern Illinois University. After being in the classroom for over 15 years, it was extremely beneficial to me as a professional educator to enhance my knowledge of educational research and practices through the classes I took and then implement that knowledge into my every day teaching. What I like most about the program at EIU is that in every class I took, I was able to take away practical information that could be used with my students. I grew tremendously as an educator and a leader because of this program.

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