This scoping review explores the causal relationship between morphological instruction and reading development in young L2 learners by synthesizing 12 primary studies published between 2004 and 2019 (N = 1,535). These studies focused on reading English as the target language and involved participants between kindergarten and Grade 12 from four countries (China, Egypt, Singapore, and the USA). Findings suggested that (a) morphological instruction led to consistent and positive gains in L2 children’s morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge, and the effect sizes (Cohen’s ds) ranged from small to large; and (b) the relationship between morphological instruction and other outcomes such as phonological awareness, word reading accuracy, word reading fluency, spelling, and reading comprehension was inconclusive. Notably, transfer effects of L2 English morphological instruction on novel word learning in English or on reading development in an additional language were only examined and observed in four primary studies. Discussion was provided regarding future instructional and research design.
* indicates a study selected in the scoping review
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*Badawi, M. F. A. (2019). The effect of explicit English morphology instruction on EFL secondary school students’ morphological awareness and reading comprehension. English Language Teaching, 12(4), 166-178.
Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D., Nagy, W., & Carlisle, J. (2010). Growth in phonological, orthographic, and morphological awareness in grades 1 to 6. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 39(2), 141-163.
Bowers, P. N., Kirby, J. R., & Deacon, S. H. (2010). The effects of morphological instruction on literacy skills: A systematic review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 144-179.
Brandes, D. R., & McMaster, K. L. (2017). A review of morphological analysis strategies on vocabulary outcomes with ELLs. Insights into Learning Disabilities, 14(1), 53-72.
Campbell, J. M. (2013). Commentary on PND at 25. Remedial and Special Education, 34(1), 20-25.
Carlisle, J. F. (2010). Effects of instruction in morphological awareness on literacy achievement: An integrative review. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(4), 464-487.
*Carlo, M. S., August, D., McLaughlin, B., Snow, C. E., Dressler, C., Lippman, D. N., Lively, T. J., & White, C. E. (2004). Closing the gap: Addressing the vocabulary needs of English‐language learners in bilingual and mainstream classrooms. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(2), 188-215.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Erlbaum.
*Crosson, A. C., & Moore, D. (2017). When to take up roots: The effects of morphology instruction for middle school and high school English learners. Reading Psychology, 38(3), 262-288.
*Davidson, S. J., & O’Connor, R. E. (2019). An intervention using morphology to derive word meanings for English language learners. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 52(2), 394-407.
*Deng, Q. (2016). The effect of a self-regulated vocabulary intervention on word knowledge, reading comprehension, and self-regulated learning for elementary English language learners (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing Publication (No. 10102763).
Devonshire, V., Morris, P., & Fluck, M. (2013). Spelling and reading development: The effect of teaching children multiple levels of representation in their orthography. Learning and Instruction, 25, 85-94.
*Filippini, A. L. (2007). Effects of a vocabulary-added instructional intervention for at-risk English learners: Is efficient reading instruction more effective? (Doctoral dissertation, University of California). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing Publication (No. 3274436).
Foster, E. M. (2010). Causal inference and developmental psychology. Developmental Psychology, 46(6), 1454-1480.
Frost, R. (2012). Towards a universal model of reading. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35(5), 263-279.
*Goodwin, A. P. (2016). Effectiveness of word solving: Integrating morphological problem-solving within comprehension instruction for middle school students. Reading and Writing, 29(1), 91-116.
Goodwin, A. P., & Ahn, S. (2010). A meta-analysis of morphological interventions: Effects on literacy achievement of children with literacy difficulties. Annals of Dyslexia, 60(2), 183-208.
Goodwin, A. P., & Ahn, S. (2013). A meta-analysis of morphological interventions in English: Effects on literacy outcomes for school-age children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 17(4), 257-285.
Goodwin, A., Lipsky, M., & Ahn, S. (2012). Word detectives: Using units of meaning to support literacy. The Reading Teacher, 65(7), 461-470.
Goodwin, A. P., & Perkins, J. (2015). Word detectives: Morphological instruction that supports academic language. The Reading Teacher, 68(7), 510-523.
Hayashi, Y., & Murphy, V. A. (2013). On the nature of morphological awareness in Japanese–English bilingual children: A cross-linguistic perspective. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(1), 49-67.
Hedges, L. V. (1981). Distribution theory for Glass’s estimator of effect size and related estimators. Journal of Educational Statistics, 6(2), 107-128.
Henbest, V. S., & Apel, K. (2017). Effective word reading instruction: What does the evidence tell us? Communication Disorders Quarterly, 39(1), 303-311.
*Kieffer, M. J., & Lesaux, N. K. (2012). Effects of academic language instruction on relational and syntactic aspects of morphological awareness for sixth graders from linguistically diverse backgrounds. The Elementary School Journal, 112(3), 519-545.
Kirby, R. J., & Bowers, P. N. (2017). Morphological instruction and literacy: Binding phonological, orthographic, and semantic features of words. In K. Cain, D. L. Compton, & R. K. Parrila (Eds.), Theories of reading development (pp. 437-461). John Benjamins.
Larsen‐Freeman, D. (2013). Transfer of learning transformed. Language Learning, 63, 107-129.
*Lesaux, N. K., Kieffer, M. J., Faller, S. E., & Kelley, J. G. (2010). The effectiveness and ease of implementation of an academic vocabulary intervention for linguistically diverse students in urban middle schools. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(2), 196-228.
McBride-Chang, C., Liu, P. D., Wong, T., Wong, A., & Shu, H. (2012). Specific reading difficulties in Chinese, English, or both: Longitudinal markers of phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and RAN in Hong Kong Chinese children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(6), 503-514.
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Nagy, W. E., Carlisle, J. F., & Goodwin, A. P. (2014). Morphological knowledge and literacy acquisition. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47(1), 3-12.
O’Donnell, C. L. (2008). Defining, conceptualizing, and measuring fidelity of implementation and its relationship to outcomes in K-12 curriculum intervention research. Review of Educational Research, 78(1), 33-84.
Oswald, F. L., & Plonsky, L. (2010). Meta-analysis in second language research: Choices and challenges. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 30, 85-110.
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Saiegh-Haddad, E., & Geva, E. (2008). Morphological awareness, phonological awareness, and reading in English–Arabic bilingual children. Reading and Writing, 21(5), 481-504.
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*Zhang, D. (2016). Morphology in Malay-English biliteracy acquisition: An intervention study. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19(5), 546-562.
Zhang, D., Koda, K., & Sun, X. (2014). Morphological awareness in biliteracy acquisition: A study of young Chinese EFL readers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 18(6), 570-585.
*Zhang, J., Anderson, R. C., Li, H., Dong, Q., Wu, X., & Zhang, Y. (2010). Cross-language transfer of insight into the structure of compound words. Reading and Writing, 23(3-4), 311-336.
*Zoski, J. L., & Erickson, K. A. (2017). Multicomponent linguistic awareness intervention for at-risk kindergarteners. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 38(3), 161-171.
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