Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Vocabulary - a list, a collection, the words of a language which lead to reading and word comprehension. These components are intrinsically, irrevocably linked as the building blocks of communication in any language and are the keys to understanding and learning. Students who lack fluency in language and strategies to acquire the necessary vocabulary struggle in all content areas. This thesis project examines the relationship between contextual reading strategies, multiple intelligence theories, and the partnership of these to improve word acquisition and reading comprehension in a sixth grade classroom. The literature review section highlights the role of the teacher, student assessment tools, and a discussion of Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory as it applies to multi-sensory approaches in learning. This three week research project, conducted in an urban school district, included 21 sixth grade students of varying skill levels, although most were below grade level with regard to word comprehension, reading, and vocabulary. The researcher employed several source materials during whole group and individual reading time, which also included the use of multi-sensory activities. Data gathered included assessment of fifth grade ELA results for comparative analysis, pre and post testing, student reflection journals, and student behavior logs kept throughout the course of the study. Several selected case studies are included for more detailed information. Conclusions drawn from this research suggest that a multi-sensory approach coupled with specific word knowledge exercises benefit the students’ language acquisition. It is also suggested that this type of language comprehension program, as a concentrated effort, be undertaken at the beginning of the academic year to improve year-long outcomes.


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