The Effects of Morphological Instruction on Literacy Skills: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Jun. 21, 2010

Source: Review of Educational Research. Vol. 80, Iss. 2; pg. 144-179. (June 2010).

The authors reviewed all peer-reviewed studies with participants from preschool to Grade 8 for this meta-analysis of morphological interventions.

The authors identified 22 applicable studies. Instructional effects - Cohen's d - were averaged by linguistic outcome categories -morphological sublexical, nonmorphological sublexical, lexical, and supralexical - and comparison group - experimental group versus control or experimental group versus alternative training.

The authors investigated the effects of morphological instruction
(a) on reading, spelling, vocabulary, and morphological skills,
(b) for less able readers versus undifferentiated samples,
(c) for younger versus older students, and
(d) in combination with instruction of other literacy skills or in isolation.

Results indicate that (a) morphological instruction benefits learners,
(b) it brings particular benefits for less able readers,
(c) it is no less effective for younger students, and
(d) it is more effective when combined with other aspects of literacy instruction.

Implications of these findings are discussed in light of current educational practice and theory.

Updated: Nov. 02, 2010