This experimental study was conducted to find the impact of modified instructional strategies on the vocabulary and reading comprehension skills of grade 2 (7 year old) students of English as second language. The main research question was that how will the cognitively modified instruction impact the vocabulary acquisition of grade two students with Arabic as first. The research hypothesis was that if the instruction in class is designed to help students acquire vocabulary skills while the cognitive load is reduced during the learning process, it will result in improved performance (Cooper 1998). To test the hypothesis, specific instruction was tailored using principles of split-attention effect, modality effect, and redundancy effect to reduce the cognitive load. The experiment group was exposed to modified instruction for four weeks, 50 minutes lesson each day. Deviation method was used to analyse the impact of modified instruction on students’ performance. Results on performance and mental effort tests of the experimental group indicated that reduced cognitive load helped increase the performance of students in vocabulary and comprehension acquisition. Efficiency metric showed that students in experiment group demonstrated better efficiency as compared to the control group. Lesson observations were conducted to validate the delivery of the instruction as per the design. The findings of the observation reflected a higher level of student engagement. The study concludes that modified instruction with reduced cognitive load results in increased performance of the learners of the English as a second language. The key theories consulted were theory of evolution, cognition, schema, and cognitive load theory.
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