Teaching first and second / Foreign language vocabulary to students with learning disabilities: A review of the research
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The process of language learning is a challenging process for students with Learning Disabilities. As regards second/foreign language acquisition, LD students seem to fall behind compared to their peers and usually give up or get exempted of foreign language learning classes. Nonetheless, the policy of exemption is against the inclusion philosophy as all students are entitled to have access to appropriate education that must also include foreign language learning. However, research regarding LD in foreign language learning is limited. More specifically, as regards second/foreign language vocabulary instruction to LD students, a gap exists in the literature. The goal of this study is to present published empirical research on vocabulary instruction strategies to LD students. More specifically, studies on first, second/foreign language and Computer Assisted Instruction vocabulary strategies to students with Learning Disabilities are reviewed. This study is secondary, as it is mostly based on previous reviews of the research on LD students’ vocabulary instruction or on studies that were located and then were, first, presented according to the research questions of this study, and later, were reviewed according to type of instruction. Twelve instructional methods were located. Mnemonic strategy instruction, direct/explicit instruction, cognitive strategy instruction, peer-based approaches, fluency-building practice, learning strategies, activity-based instruction, and constant time delay were examined in students’ first language. Regarding foreign language learning, supportive feedback strategies were only located while CAI instruction, video anchors and podcasts were identified in technology assisted vocabulary instruction. Findings and effects are discussed.