Review methods

Technology and struggling readers

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A literature search of articles written between 1980 and 2012 was carried out to find studies that met the following inclusion criteria:

  • The studies evaluated applications incorporating any type of educational technology, including computers, multimedia, interactive whiteboards, and other technology.
  • The studies involved primary school pupils who were having difficulties learning to read.
  • The studies compared pupils taught in classes using a given technology-assisted reading programme to those in control classes using an alternative or standard method.
  • Studies could have taken place in any country, but the report had to be available in English.
  • Random assignment or matching with appropriate adjustments for any pretest differences had to be used.
  • Pretest data had to be provided, unless studies used random assignment of at least 30 units (individuals, classes, or schools) and there were no indications of initial inequality.
  • The dependent measures included quantitative measures of reading performance, such as standardised reading measures. Experimenter-made measures were accepted if they were comprehensive measures of reading, which would be fair to the control groups, but measures of reading objectives inherent to the programme (but unlikely to be emphasised in control groups) were excluded.
  • A minimum study duration of 12 weeks was required.
  • Studies had to have at least two teachers in each treatment group and had to be replicable in realistic school settings.