Date of Graduation


Document Type



Reading to learn is a major curricular goal in the fourth and fifth grades. Vocabulary development is an important aspect of this goal. Learning the meaning of unfamiliar words is not an easy task for all learners, especially for some students with a language learning disability. This multiple baseline single case/small group investigation was designed to study the effectiveness of semantic mapping instruction as a technique for learning new words. Fourth and fifth grade students met with their regular classroom teacher in small groups to construct semantic maps. At each grade level, the group consisted of a student with a language learning disability and three normally achieving peers. Students met individually with the investigator at specified times during the study to give definitions to twelve words; nine were taught via semantic maps, three were not. Students also answered questions about the strategies they might use in learning the meaning of unfamiliar words. Visual and tabular analyses of the data indicated that all participants benefitted from semantic mapping instruction. The two participants with a language learning disability as well as half the normal achievers increased their stated strategy repertoire with the semantic mapping technique. With the implementation of the Regular Education Initiative (REI), the roles of both regular and special educators are changing. The findings of this study give teachers an instructional technique they can use with confidence in the regular classroom with both normal achievers and students with language learning disabilities.