Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Literacy Education



First Supervisor

Martha Murray


This research paper investigates methods that promote conceptual understanding and retention of middle school, content area vocabulary for visual learners. Existing research suggests the methods of social interaction, visuals, word manipulation, contextual analysis, authentic connections, and self-selection to significantly influence vocabulary development. These methods were tested within “The Circular Vocabulary Strategy” to determine their effectiveness. Authentic connections and social interaction were found to most significantly create conceptual understanding and retention, while self-selection, word manipulation, and visuals increased motivation and promoted task manageability; contextual analysis acted as a guide in understanding, and the unintentionally examined method of repetition aided in information recall. These findings generally imply an interactive classroom environment with adult guidance, scaffolding, and modifications is essential to conceptual understanding and retention of vocabulary.

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