Technology and struggling readers

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Effective technology applications
for struggling readers

This review examines the effectiveness of educational technology applications in improving the reading achievement of struggling readers in primary schools.

We conducted a literature search of all articles written between 1980 and 2012, and applied consistent inclusion standards to focus on studies that met high methodological standards. A total of 20 studies based on about 7,000 primary school pupils were included in the final analysis

The four types of education technology applications reviewed were:

  •  Small-group integrated applicationssuch as Lindamood Phoneme Sequence Program and Read, Write, and Type. These tutorial educational technology applications use small-group interaction tightly integrated with reading curriculum.  
  • Comprehensive models, including READ 180 and Read About. These programmes use computer-assisted instruction (CAI) along with non-computer activities as pupils’ core reading approach. 
  • Supplemental technologysuch as Destination ReadingPlato FocusWaterford, and WICAT. These programmes provide additional instruction at pupils’ assessed levels of need to supplement traditional classroom teaching. 
  • The Fast ForWord programme. This programme supplements traditional CAI with software designed to retrain the brain to process information more effectively through a set of computer games that slow and magnify the acoustic changes in normal speech