ABRACADABRA aids Indigenous and non-Indigenous early literacy in Australia: Evidence from a multisite randomized controlled trial

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Computers & Education, ISSN: 0360-1315, Vol: 67, Page: 250-264

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https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/publications/b67da193-ec77-4c5b-94fc-58af9f876d24; http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/esf_facpub/176; http://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/publications/record(b67da193-ec77-4c5b-94fc-58af9f876d24).html
Wolgemuth, Jennifer R.; Savage, Robert; Helmer, Janet; Harper, Helen; Lea, Tess; Abrami, Phillip C.; Kirby, Adrienne; Chalkiti, Kalotina; Morris, Peter; Carapetis, Jonathan; Louden, William Show More Hide
Elsevier BV
Computer Science; Social Sciences; computer-based instruction; early literacy; phonological awareness; indigenous populations; randomized experiment
article description
In many western countries, identifiable populations of children read below age-expectations, and the need for effective interventions remains pressing. Indigenous populations across the globe tend to have reading outcomes lower than comparative general populations. This is a critical issue in Australia's Northern Territory where Indigenous students are far less likely to meet minimum reading standards. There is some evidence to suggest that computer-based instruction may be of particular benefit to struggling readers. To redress reading disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, a multisite single-blind randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of the ABRACADABRA web-based reading tool, http://abralite.concordia.ca, on reading, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness was conducted in Northern Territory, Australian primary schools with 164 intervention and 148 control (regular instruction) children. The total sample was 28% Indigenous. Results revealed that all intervention group students made significant gains in phonological awareness (d =.37) and phoneme-grapheme knowledge over control group peers (d =.37). Indigenous students gained significantly more per hour of instruction than non-Indigenous students in phonological awareness and early literacy skills. Results suggest that ABRACADABRA prevents lags in foundational literacy experienced by poor readers including Indigenous students. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.