VINE was a three-year federally funded research project that explored the development of vocabulary knowledge through word consciousness. It was a collaboration between the University of California-Santa Cruz, San Jose State University, and seven districts in the surrounding areas.


  • To co-construct, with teachers, an intervention that helps fourth grade students, particularly English learners and those traditionally under-served by schools, develop word consciousness and an understanding of how to use academic language as a tool of communication.
  • To obtain evidence that our co-constructed intervention improves the reading, writing, and vocabulary achievement of fourth graders.

Research Questions

  • How did word study/word consciousness affect students’ reading comprehension?
  • How did word study/word consciousness affect students’ writing?
  • Did word study/word consciousness significantly enhance students’ writing achievement?
  • Did word study/word consciousness significantly enhance students’ reading comprehension?

Research Participants

Fourth grade teachers from metropolitan, town, and rural areas of California.
  • Previous experience with writing workshop
  • 15-50% ELL students in their classes
  • Willing to make a 1-3 year commitment
  • Flexibility in teaching

Research Plan

  • Staggered entry design so that the teachers who were in the “control” group in the first year became “intervention” teachers the following year.
  • Think-tank model through which we built a collaborative community based on shared expertise and action research.
  • Data sources included: student and teacher questionnaires and interviews, California Standards Tests in reading, writing, and vocabulary, writing samples, pre- and post-tests of linguistic/semantic knowledge about words, teacher journals, field notes, videotaped classroom observations, an inventory of classroom libraries, and student book logs.
  • Data analyses focused on reading, writing, and vocabulary growth by case-study students and by control and intervention classes. Professional growth of the control and intervention teachers was also  analyzed.
VINE: “We gratefully acknowledge funding by the US Dept of Education: Institute of Education Sciences/National Center for Educational Research.  Reading and Writing Education Research Grant – #R305G060140.  This presentation is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Department of Education.”