This study represents an example of translating basic research on learning strategies into the development of classroom instruction. In particular, three approaches to vocabulary instruction were developed based on research from the training of elaboration strategies with retarded children. These approaches were tested with a month of vocabulary instruction presented daily to nine classes for the educable mentally retarded. Data related to vocabulary development and strategy usage indicated the instructional conditions were differentially affected. The findings provided initial guidelines as to how elaborations could be incorporated into classroom instruction for the mentally retarded.