Assessing the efficacy of Morphological Analysis Intervention (MAI) with 4th class EAL pupils experiencing language and reading difficulties


  • Christina Hannify National Council for Special Education
  • Marie Raftery


Morphology, Morphological analysis, L1 (first language), L2 (second language), EAL (English as an additional language), LMY (Language Minority Youth), ELL (English Language Learner), affixes, root words, cognates


This study investigated the efficacy of a morphological analysis intervention (MAI) as a pedagogical approach for pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL) who were also experiencing language and reading difficulties. Participants were 4th class EAL pupils (n=12), age range 9y 7m - 11y 3m, attending a large, urban, DEIS Band 2 school. Participants, equal in terms of the number of boys and girls involved, were randomly assigned to either the intervention (n=8) or comparison condition (n=4). The intervention group received MAI over a six-week period, while the comparison group received their typical guided reading instruction. Performance gains on measures of language and literacy were compared between intervention and comparison groups to evaluate the impact of MAI. Analysis of findings suggest that MAI has a positive impact on pupils’ motivation and engagement during guided reading. Although academic gains on norm-referenced assessments were not found to be statistically significant, intervention participants performed better overall on norm-referenced and researcher-designed measures of vocabulary, word-level reading accuracy, reading comprehension and spelling than comparison-group participants.


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How to Cite

Hannify, C., & Raftery, M. (2023). Assessing the efficacy of Morphological Analysis Intervention (MAI) with 4th class EAL pupils experiencing language and reading difficulties . REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland, 36(2). Retrieved from