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The present study was designed to compare the effects of a mnemonic strategy which utilized context to facilitate word recognition and identification with a context-free strategy. Specifically, disabled readers were taught to recognize and identify meanings for abstract words either through the mediation of a picto-organizer or through flashcard presentation. The idea of a picto-organizer evolved from an earlier study (Alvermann, 1980) in which students recalled a story using key vocabulary terms schematically arranged to show hierarchical and parallel relationships among words (see Barron, 1969). The picto-organizer provides pictorial clues to word meanings as they are used in the context of a story. This direct meaning-bearing property of the picto-organizer makes it particularly appealing, since much of the criticism leveled again mnemonic strategies in the past has been that they help only with meaningless, rote learning (Bellezza, 1981; Higbee, 1979).

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