Sight Vocabulary Acquisition in ESL Students with Autism: A Case Study

By Saroya Yahya and Melor Md Yunus.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Reading is linked to one’s knowledge of vocabulary. Without a large sight vocabulary, a typical ESL student would spend much effort in trying to discern the meaning of words while reading. For students with autism, this would be a more daunting task. Having a limited sight word vocabulary is one of the factors that contributes to difficulty in reading for this population. Specifically, the present study aims to look into how ESL students with mild autism acquire sight vocabulary from the instruction they receive in the classroom. Thus, this study focuses on classroom observations where English language lessons take place. Analysis of data revealed that the students benefit from teachers’ use of L1 in supporting sight vocabulary learning. Findings also indicate that visually cued instruction helps with retention of the words. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Second Language Learning, Sight Vocabulary, Students with Autism

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp.367-384. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 837.082KB).

Saroya Yahya

PhD Student, Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Saroya Yahya has taught in secondary schools, matriculation colleges, and teacher training institutes. She is currently a TESL Ph.D. candidate at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her current interest is teaching reading to ESL students with autism.

Dr. Melor Md Yunus

Senior Lecturer, TESL, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Melor Md. Yunus is a senior lecturer of TESL in the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She holds a B.A. in English (linguistics) from the University of Nevada-Reno, USA, and an M.A. in TESL from Arizona State University, USA. She earned her Ph.D. in education (TESL) from the University of Bristol, UK. Her areas of concentration are TESL, language pedagogy, and the use of technology in TESL. Currently, she teaches TESL methods and teaching of writing courses, as well as graduate courses in research methodology and academic writing.


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