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September 2019

The Use of Song Lyrics to Teach Expressive Vocabulary Skills to Moderately Retarded Individuals

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of song lyrics from preferred songs to teach vocabulary skills to moderately retarded adoles- cents and young adults. Subjects were 20 adolescents and young adults residing at the Belle Chasse State School, Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Subjects were randomly divided into experimentals and controls. As a pretest, the author administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), Form A to controls, and Form B to experimentals. A second part of the pretest consisted of having each subject sing his or her favorite song. From these songs, clients were asked to define 10 words from the lyrics, excluding articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Ten songs were selected randomly from all songs presented by subjects. Words from these songs (100) provided target vocabulary for the training period. Experimental subjects met with the author five days per week for 30 minutes a day. The experimental period consisted of 10 weeks or 50 sessions. Members of the control group attended regularly scheduled classes. Scoring for the singing of words in the pretests and posttests was done individually by the author and an independent rater. A Spearman rho yielded an interrater reliability of .91 (p < .001) for the pretest. Additional rhos yeilded reliability coefficients of .706 (p < .05) and .98 (p < .05). between ratings of posttest singing scores of experimentals and controls. Scoring for the defining of words was also done by the author and an independent rater. A Spearman rho yielded a reliability coefficient of .87 (p < .001) of pretest defining scores of experimentalsm and a reliability of .94 (p < .001) between pretests of defining scores of control subjects. Spearman rhos also were used to assess independent ratings of posttest scores. The reliability coefficients were .997 ( p < .001) for experimentals, and .945 ( p < .001) for controls. The data for pronunciation while singing pretest and posttests were coded for computer entry (QSTAT), and no significant differences were found between experimentals and controls. QSTAT also was used to determine effects of the music therapy program on pretest and posttest scores of the defining test. No significance was found for this measure. Pretest and posttest scores for experimentals and controls for the PPVT were analyzed using the QSTAT program. No significant differences were found for this measure.

Note: Peabody-Picture-Vocabulary-Test.

Keyword(s): songs, lyric, expressive-language, vocabulary, adolescents, adult, developmental-disabilities, retarded.


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