Skip to main content

Research Report

Teacher Vocabulary Use and Student Language and Literacy Achievement

Publication date:

Researchers examined second grade teachers’ word use throughout the school day to identify the amount and type of teacher vocabulary use across content areas as well as to examine relationships between this teacher talk and student language and literacy achievement. Findings reveal second grade students hear thousands of words spoken by the teacher each hour of the school day, including more than a thousand different words per hour on average. Teachers who used more academic words had students with higher vocabulary achievement at the end of the school year. This correlational evidence adds to the existing knowledge of the importance of academic language to student school outcomes and provides implications for further research in the area of academic language at the early elementary level.


Jeanne Wanzek, Carla Wood and Christopher Schatschneider. Teacher Vocabulary Use and Student Language and Literacy Achievement. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 4, 2023.