Enhancing Maintenance and Generalization of Sight Words Taught with Incremental Rehearsal: Applying the Depth of Processing and Generalization Framework

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Incremental rehearsal (IR) is a flashcard technique that has produced strong effects for a variety of outcomes including word recognition. We utilized theory-based modifications to IR to enhance maintenance and generalization of sight words. We utilized a within-subjects design in which 41 participants in 2nd and 3rd grade were taught seven unknown words in each of three IR variants—IR, IR with vocabulary (IR-V, which leveraged the depth of processing framework), and IR with context (IR-C, which leveraged Stokes and Baer’s, 1977, generalization framework). Auditory working memory and decoding skills were measured as potential moderators. Maintenance and generalization were high across conditions, but maintenance was greater in IR-V and IR-C than IR. IR was the most efficient intervention variant. A potential moderating effect of decoding skills, but not of auditory working memory, was noted. Researchers and practitioners should consider the extent to which theory-based modifications increase effectiveness of an intervention, while also considering impacts on efficiency.



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School Psychology Quarterly