Research has demonstrated a positive correlation between the use of diverse and sophisticated vocabulary and the overall quality scores of essays in students' writing (Ferris, 1994; Jarvis et al., 2003). Despite this, the instruction of vocabulary in composition courses has historically been minimal, largely due to prevailing views from the history of second language acquisition theory, which suggest that explicit teaching of linguistic features is unfavorable (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Hartwell, 1985; Krashen, 1982, 1984). This is corroborated by Ferris (2014) and Folse (2004), who note the virtual absence of vocabulary instruction in these contexts. Conversely, the challenge posed by academic-specific vocabulary, especially for L2 learners who cannot intuitively grasp English grammatical rules and notions of 'correctness', has been acknowledged (Frodesen & Holten, 2003), and the importance of learning vocabulary in context has been emphasized (Laufer & Hulstijn, 2001; Paribakht & Wesche,1999). This study investigated how the creation of an Vocabulary Journal (VJ) based on course readings influences writing within the course. The intervention, involving multilingual university freshmen (N=12), spanned ten weeks during which students extracted vocabulary from scholarly articles used as course readings and created a VJ. The intervention utilized a Vocabulary Journal (VJ) that was developed by incorporating modifications to the models proposed by Ferris and Hedgcock (2014) and Staehr Fenner and Snyder (2017), following a ii review of major theories related to vocabulary acquisition. Research on how English language learners (ELLs) select words from reading texts to create a Vocabulary Journal (VJ) and apply this vocabulary in academic writing has been scarce. This study contributes to the field by examining the characteristics of words recorded in the VJ, tracking the number and methods of their application in subsequent writings over time, and analyzing changes in Lexical Richness Indicators in students' writing as time progresses. Additionally, the study explores correlations with interest in the readings and changes in students' perceptions before and after the intervention. The results are analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively, offering insights into the dynamics of vocabulary acquisition and usage in academic contexts.


Glen Poupore

Committee Member

Paolo Infante

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages




Humanities and Social Sciences

Available for download on Wednesday, May 16, 2029

Included in

Education Commons



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In Copyright