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									                     Rudy, 2005

Computer-Based Reading

      Heidi L. Rudy
     August 9, 2005
         EDSP 765
 Indiana University of
                               Rudy, 2005

• Core elements to effective
  reading instruction:
  –   Phonological/ phonemic awareness
  –   Letter identification
  –   Phonics
  –   Fluency
  –   Vocabulary development
  –   Ability to recall and retell
      sentences and stories
                                                            Rudy, 2005

         National Reading Panel
• Computer-based instruction is relatively new.
• Speech recognition capabilities as well as many multimedia
  presentation functions now possible.
• Developments in the Internet, with possibilities of linking schools
  and instruction, have further increased interest in technology as a
  teaching device.
• Computer technology is different from other areas the NRP
  analyzed. It cannot be studied independently of instructional content
  and is not an instructional method in itself.
• The use of hypertext, while technically not reading instruction, may
  have an instructional advantage. Second, the use of computers as
  word processors may be very beneficial, given that reading
  instruction is most effective when combined with writing
• Striking in its absence is research on the incorporation of Internet
  applications to reading instruction.
• Research also is needed on the value of speech recognition as a
  technology and the use of multimedia presentations in reading
                                                      Rudy, 2005
Overview of Reading
    – Majority of research conducted on K-3 reading
      technologies has been poorly conceived, implemented
      and conducted. From available research, few have
      consistently shown to be effective.
    – Most are expensive, and the returns in terms of
      achievement are moderate at best.
    – Most substantial effects have been achieved by
      comprehensive school-wide programs, small group
      programs, and professional tutoring programs that are
      generally less expensive.
    – Companies have developed software focusing on reading
      readiness skills as well as systematic instructional
      reading programs.
    – Currently more than 1,000 software titles available to
      schools and in the home. Most designers claim their
      software is based on the latest reading research, but only
      a fraction of companies have tested their products
      against other methods.
Computerized Reading                                          Rudy, 2005
Programs and Students                          
with Disabilities
    • Step 1 : Ask questions about the research base supporting
      the use of interventions specifically for students with
      disabilities, and for students with varying types of disabilities.
    • Step 2 : Ask questions about the contextual conditions
      needed to support effective implementation of the
      intervention. What conditions appear to be facilitating or
      restricting implementation? How can educators address
      those conditions that need to be more fully developed to
      facilitate implementation?
    • Step 3 : Make sure the following conditions are present to
      support access:
       – the intervention will support the learning goals defined for
          each student, in accordance with the general education
          curriculum and content standards;
       – Necessary technology and materials are available to
          provide instruction through a variety of formats – thus
          meeting the demands of diverse learning needs;
       – appropriate accommodations are available to address the
          unique needs of individual students; and
       – appropriate assessments are available for measuring
          student progress.
Features of Effective                                  Rudy, 2005

Reading Programs                 

    • Driven by reading research and not ideology.
    • Emphasize direct, systematic, intensive, and sustained
      reading instruction.
    • Require school-wide buy-in before they are adopted.
    • Supported by initial professional development and then
      extended follow-up training throughout the school year.
    • When implementing an effective program, the school
      needs to be committed to the integrity of the program’s
      instructional approach and materials.
    • Make effective use of instructional time, provide
      multiple reading opportunities, and employ a variety of
      reading assessments.
Computer-Based                         Rudy, 2005

Reading Programs
   • FastForWord (K - 8)
   • Waterford Early Reading Program (Pre-K –
   • Accelerated Reader (3 – 11)
   • Fast Track Reading (4 - 8)
   • Read 180 (4 – 8)
   • Daisy Quest (Pre-K – K)
   • StudyDog (K-2)
   • Rappiń Reader & Say, Say Oh Playmate
     (Pre-K – 4)
                                                         Rudy, 2005

 CD-ROM & Internet-based training program to help at-risk
    students build oral language comprehension and other
    critical skills necessary for learning to read.
 In March of 1997, after an extensive field trial with almost 500
    children at 35 sites, the Company launched its first product.
    Later that year, a second field trial, with almost 500 students
    in 19 schools across the U.S., replicated earlier results,
    showing gains of 1-2 years in 4 to 8 weeks.
 6 district-level studies completed indicating its effectiveness
    with ELL populations; effectiveness also demonstrated in 14
    studies with students receiving special education services.
 Solid experimental studies with random assignment to condition
    at both the clinical and school implementation levels. Found
    to be highly successful in improving prerequisite reading
    skills (phonemic awareness, auditory processing speed,
    phonological awareness, working memory, syntax, grammar,
    etc.) for “at-risk” students”. These skills only moderately
    correlate with success in reading at later stages.
 Milken Family Foundation rating: “E - evidence, some research
    with majority of findings showing reading improvement”
                                                     Rudy, 2005

  FastForWord Language develops students’ listening accuracy,
          phonological awareness and language structures.
 FastForWord Middle & High School targets students’ memory,
    attention, processing and sequencing in the context of key
    reading skills such as phonological fluency and language
 FastForWord Language to Reading focuses on sound-letter
    comprehension, phonological awareness, beginning word
    recognition and English language conventions.
 FastForWord Language Basics is designed for children ages
    four to six years, building the basic skills necessary for
    language and reading development and prepares them for
    FastForWord Language.
 FastForWord Language, FastForWord Middle & High School, &
    FastForWord Language to Reading products are $900 each.
    FastForWord to Reading Series is $500, and FastForWord
    Language Basics is $100.
 For more information,
                                              Rudy, 2005

  • Supplemental Components
    – FastForWord Bookshelf – original, age-
      appropriate stories for students ages 4-7 years.
    – Reading Edge – evaluates language & listening
      skills (phonological awareness, decoding,
      phonological memory, & letter identification).
    – FastForWord Progress Tracker –
      administrative, classroom, and individual
      progress & intervention reports.
Waterford Early Reading                                   Rudy, 2005

    • Teaches children how to read, write, and keyboard. It is one
      of the nation's first research-based, technology-driven reform
      models in early reading instruction.
    • 3 levels: emergent (automatic letter recognition, phonological
      awareness, concepts of print & understanding oral & written
      language), beginning (phonics, word recognition, writing,
      spelling & comprehension) & fluent (practice reading sight
      word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension, extended
      phonics instruction & writing activities).
    • Requires 15 minutes per day. Take-home materials to
      support home-school connection are supplied by Waterford
    • Standards in alignment with recommendations from Society
      for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), National
      Research Council (NRC), International Reading Association
      (IRA), National Reading Panel, National Center on Education
      and Economy (NCEE), National Institute for Health and
      Human Development (NICHD) and Center for the
      Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA).
Waterford Early Reading                                  Rudy, 2005

    • Reading Level One (emergent) prepares students for
      beginning reading instruction by teaching print concepts,
      phonological awareness, and letter recognition, (typically
      used in kindergarten).
    • Reading Level Two (beginning) teaches letter sounds, word
      recognition, and beginning reading comprehension, (typically
      used in 1st grade).
    • Reading Level Three (fluent) takes students from beginning
      to fluent reading and comprehension, (typically used in 2nd
    • Phonological Awareness helps young students recognize
      that words are made up of phonemes. Phonological
      Awareness is typically run concurrent with Level One or
      Level Two.
    • Keyboarding to Read and Write teaches students how to
      keyboard by touch. Keyboarding is usually run after
      Phonological Awareness.
    • Writing is a menu of writing activities, paint programs, and
      word processors that allows teachers to devote more
      classroom time to developing students' writing skills.
Waterford Early Reading                                     Rudy, 2005

    • Effectiveness research
       – Hecht & Close (2002) found improvements in phonemic
         awareness and word recognition but not for letter writing,
         name or sound knowledge or print concepts. 29% did
         not improve by more than 1 point on the sound
         segmenting task and 10% did not improve by more than
         2 points on the blending task.
       – Walberg (2001) examined results of 8 school districts in
         Idaho. Best results obtained for students initially
         achieving in the lowest third & for those who completed
         the program (effects comparable or superior to tutoring
         and increasing instructional time). Sufficient staff training
         is critical to program’s success.
       – Young & Tracey (1998) examined effectiveness in 8
         kindergarten classes in New Jersey and found significant
         results for the treatment group on Waterford Reading
         Inventory (WRI) & Test of Early Reading Ability-2 (TERA-
Waterford Early Reading                                   Rudy, 2005

    • Effectiveness Research:
       – In 2 studies disseminated by the Waterford Institute,
         mixed results were reported but the studies were
         weakened by treatment and control groups who were not
         initially comparable.
       – Milken Family Foundation rating: “LE – little evidence,
         research with mixed results” (
    • Costs: Most common implementation model is
      center of 3 computers in a single kindergarten
      classroom. Cost of software, training, & 3-year
      supply of material is $19,000.
    • For more information, or
                                                                  Rudy, 2005
Accelerated Reader

    •   Computerized reading management system designed for students
        ages 8-18. Purpose is not to provide reading instruction, but to help
        motivate students to read more books at an appropriate level of
        difficulty. AR seeks to motivate students to read advanced level
        books and to increase their personal reading time.
    •   Used in more than 13,000 schools and is part of a larger program,
        Reading Renaissance.
    •   Students read books selected for their optimal reading level by the
        software and complete a multiple-choice comprehension test on the
        computer after they have completed each book. The computer
        scores the test, summarizes the results and stores the information
        for each student. Each book is assigned a point value, based upon
        the book’s reading level and number of words. Point values are
        indicators to teachers of how much students are reading and how
        well they are comprehending what they read.
    •   Several studies have been conducted to determine the program’s
        effectiveness, but few have produced any significant results.
        (Publisher lists 64 “scientific research” reports in support of AR but
        all 64 are questionable in terms of methodologies or integrity.)
                                                          Rudy, 2005
Accelerated Reader

  • Outcome studies:
    – Pavonetti, Brimmer, & Cipielewski (2002) failed to find support
      for the claim that AR creates lifelong learners.
    – Peak & Dewalt (1994) tracked the progress of 50 9th grade
      students who used AR since 3rd grade & compared their
      achievement scores (on the CAT) to a matched control group.
      AR students gained an average of 15 points per year from
      grades 3-6 as compared to 10 points for the control group.
      AR students gained an average of 13 points (compared to 5)
      during grades 6-8.
    – Vollands et al. (1999) compared 27 students who used AR
      daily for 1 year with control students and found no significant
      differences between the groups on comprehension or
    – Samuels & Wu (2004) compared students provided same
      amount of independent reading time per day (15 minutes).
      AR students completed comprehension quizzes while control
      students completed book reports. AR students gained
      significantly more points on passage comprehension & total
      comprehension portions of GRADE.
                                                          Rudy, 2005
Accelerated Reader

   • Research:
      – Walberg (2001) examined 21,534 students in 76 Idaho
         schools and found average student read 38 books per
         year and spent 22 minutes per day reading (127%
         increase in the average time students at any grade level
         spend reading). “Grade effect” evident. Sufficient staff
         training necessary for success of program. Program
         appears to be most successful when students begin in
         the early grades, especially 1st grade.
      – Milken Family Foundation rating: “LE – little evidence,
         research with mixed results” (
   • Costs: $3,457.35 for Super Kit (includes 20 reading practice
     disks, STAR Reading, school network-wide site license for
     up to 200 students, software manual and telephone support).
     Expansion kits are $29 for 50 students. Does not include the
     costs of the books (must be purchased separately).
   • For more information,
                                       Rudy, 2005
Fast Track Reading

   • Supplemental intervention program
     for struggling readers (at least 2 years
     below grade level) in grades 4-8.
   • 3 strands: Word Work (phonics &
     word study), Comprehension, &
   • Includes lessons in the 5 significant
     components of reading: phonemic
     awareness, phonics, fluency,
     vocabulary, & comprehension.
                                                               Rudy, 2005
Fast Track Reading

  • Outcome Studies
    – Field test in California (2001): no randomization procedures used &
      no control group. At pre-intervention stage, 25% of CA participants
      scored within 1 SD of the mean on the WJ-III Broad Reading (44%
      nationwide), and after 10 weeks of intervention 89% of CA
      participants (83% nationwide) scored within 1 SD of mean.
      • Basic Reading: CA 67% pre-intervention – 100% post-
      intervention; nationwide 55% pre-intervention – 86% post-
      • Central Unified Step School: 17 8th grade students (8 Hispanic, 8
      low SES). Broad Reading 88 pre-intervention – 98 after 5 weeks –
      103 after 10 weeks. Basic Reading 91 pre-intervention – 102 after
      5 weeks – 107 after 10 weeks.
      • Garcia ELL Program: 14 elementary students (11 Hispanic, 2
      African American, 1 Caucasian). Basic Reading 80 pre-intervention
      – 82 after 5 weeks – 84 after 10 weeks – 92 after 1 year.
      • Garcia Special Education Program: 11 students (6 Hispanics, 4
      African Americans, 1 Caucasian). Broad Reading 75 pre-
      intervention – 76 after 5 weeks – 79 after 10 weeks – 88 after 1
      year. Basic Reading 79 pre-intervention – 80 after 5 weeks – 83
      after 10 weeks – 87 after 1 year.
                                   Rudy, 2005
Fast Track Reading

   • Cost $4,630 per classroom (includes
     all materials)
   • For more information,
                                           Rudy, 2005
Read 180

    • Combines teacher-led instruction with
      adaptive instructional software and is
      designed for struggling readers (& ELL
      students) in elementary – high school.
    • Aligns with accountability requirements of
    • Components: software, audiobooks,
      paperback books, and teacher materials.
      Elementary, middle school, and high
      school levels.
    • Currently used in more than 5,000
      classrooms nationwide. Ten years of
      research with Vanderbilt University.
                                                             Rudy, 2005
Read 180

    • Software specifics: Each passage is available at several
      different reading levels, assigned to students using
      diagnostic assessments. Opportunity to read and reread
      with high degree of success builds word recognition, fluency,
      and comprehension. Passages are written to include words
      that provide multiple exemplars of targeted sound-spelling
      patterns, high-frequency words and grade-appropriate
      content-area vocabulary words. As students progress
      through software, they are presented with activities that
      repeat words from the controlled passages. Software
      equipped to identify each student’s level of proficiency with
      specific phonic elements, and provides adjusted &
      individualized activities. Same principles for spelling training.
      Before reading each controlled passage, students are
      presented with a video that develops background knowledge
      and vocabulary (building a mental model to comprehend
      passage). By presenting images and background
      information, the software presents students with the context
      necessary to understand new vocabulary and academic
                                      Rudy, 2005
Read 180

    • Orange County Literacy Project
      (1994-1999): used with more than
      10,000 students.
    • Publisher provides no details of
      outcome studies conducted in LA
      Unified School District, Department of
      Defense Schools, and large, urban
      schools through Council of Great City
           Rudy, 2005
Read 180
                                     Rudy, 2005
Daisy Quest

   • Pre-reading program teaches critical
     phonological awareness skills
     (rhyming, beginning, middle and
     ending sounds; blending phonemes;
     and segmenting).
   • 15-20 minutes per session playing
     increasingly difficult games.
   • Developed by Dr. Joseph Torgesen
                                              Rudy, 2005
Daisy Quest

   • 2 Outcome Studies:
      – Foster, Erickson, Foster, Brinkman, & Torgesen
        (1994): 70 students in K. Experimental &
        control groups. 4 pretests (PA) – 16 sessions
        (5 hours per student)– post-tests. Average
        effect size = 1.05.
      – Torgesen & Barker (1995): 54 1st grade
        students at-risk for reading. Experimental &
        control groups. Same 4 pretests (PA) – 8 hours
        program – post-tests. Average effect size =
        0.91 except for phoneme-blending task.
                                                         Rudy, 2005
Daisy Quest

   • Best used with Pre-K, and at-risk K and 1st grade students.
   • Software self-contained so no formal teacher training
   • Cost: $29.95 per machine, MAC only.
   • For more information,
                                                     Rudy, 2005

   • Designed for students K-2 who are struggling with reading.
     Internet-delivered series of 15-minute reading lessons.
   • Based on K-3 standards for FL, NY, CA & TX. Covers
     NRP’s 5 critical areas of early reading & program
     requirements of Reading First Program.
   • 2 Review members: Dr. Roland Good & Dr. Arlene Hett.
   • Follows a simple learning model. Explicit instruction,
     concrete modeling, practice opportunities, corrective
     feedback, 80% mastery to proceed to next lesson.
   • Lessons have animated characters & overall story-
     adventure. Frequent encouragement & help provided.
   • Earn Lost Island coins to exchange for prizes sent through
     the mail.
   • Parents receive weekly progress reports, including specific
     reading skill performances and suggested reading activities
     & supplemental reading books.
                                                              Rudy, 2005

   • Outcome Studies:
      – Several studies with low SES, struggling-to-read students in K-
        2nd grade in 17 public schools in Oregon & Washington, and in
        an after-school program in Missouri.
          • Oregon:213 scholarships awarded to students in 14 schools. 65%
            to 77.5% on StudyDog reading test, or 90% of students improving
            performance from non-proficient to proficient level of performance.
          • Missouri: pre & post-test, experimental & control groups. 45
            students included. Gain scores for treatment group (t=3.4, p<.001)
            reveal group average shifted from failing to average & above
            average reading skills. 80% average performance across lessons.
            Treatment group performed significantly better (F=4.6, p=0.38),
            and achieved an effect size of 0.69.
          • Overall, 90% students who complete the program gain 1-year of
            reading skill development in 10-14 weeks of participating in the
          • 32 reading studies complied by NRP (2000), and by comparing
            effect sizes, StudyDog performed better than 81% (26) of the
                                                       Rudy, 2005

   • ELL (fits within both immersion & bilingual
     – 5 features make it unique supplemental
       program for teaching beginning English to ELLs
        • Focused on critical reading skills, explicitly teaches
          each reading skill, provision of guided practice,
          encourages gains in English fluency & strong
          comprehension skills, & lessons are highly engaging.
     – 2 years of implementation in ELL reading
       program in Oregon with K-2nd grade students.
       Kindergarten pre-to-post test gains (t=4.966,
       p<.001) and 1st grade pre-to post-test gains
       (t=4.539, p<.001) consistent with results of
       other validation studies.
Rappiń Reader & Say, Say Oh Playmate 2005


         • Designed to improve beginning reading skills of African
           American students by using knowledge of music lyrics as a
           scaffold in the building of their sight vocabulary in culturally
           authentic learning environments.
         • Rappin' Reader uses rap lyrics and Say, Say Oh Playmate
           uses the context of well-known clapping games to scaffold
           children's acquisition of beginning reading skills. The
           programs are created using Lyric Reader, which allows the
           programs to be tailored for individual students.
         • Rappin' Reader provides children with simultaneous word-
           sound exposure by coordinating a song's soundtrack and
           visual text on the screen.
Rappiń Reader & Say,                               Rudy, 2005

Say Oh Playmate
    • Preliminary findings have shown a 21% increase
      on average in students' sight reading of the words
      in the study songs from pre to post sight
      vocabulary test for Rappin' Reader and a 24%
      increase for Say, Say Oh Playmate. Analysis of
      video transcripts revealed that students
      consistently used their prior knowledge of song
      lyrics to reconstruct the lyrics to existing songs. In
      addition, both systems appear to have positive
      motivational effects. When students were asked to
      compare Rappin' Reader and Say, Say Oh
      Playmate to leading educational software
      applications, the majority of students ranked both
      systems as their favorite applications.
                                                          Rudy, 2005
Websites of Interest

    • Free website containing explicit phonics
      activities, online book series, etc.
    • Free reading motivation program
      for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book
      lists from over 6,000 recommended titles, take multiple
      choice quizzes on the books they've read offline, and earn
      points and prizes for their literary successes. Book
      Adventure was created by the Sylvan Learning Foundation
      and is sponsored by Sylvan Learning, Inc.
    • Spanish language resources & literacy games
      for children (Alphabet Soup, Story Maker, Poetry Splatter,
      Super Sorter, etc.).
    • Collection of
      multicultural links, many containing books, articles, links &
    • Site helps students select books
      to read and provides a pen pal to write to about it.
                                                                          Rudy, 2005

    •   Http://
    •   Foster, K.C., Erickson, G.C., Foster, D.F., Brinkman, D., & Torgesen, J.K.
        (1994). Computer assisted instruction in phonological awareness:
        Evaluation of the DaisyQuest program. The Journal of Research and
        Development in Education, 27(2), 126-137.
    •   Hecht, S.A. & Close, L. (2002). Emergent literacy skills and training time
        uniquely predict vulnerability in responses to phonemic awareness training
        in disadvantaged kindergarteners. Journal of Experimental Child
        Psychology, 82, 93-115.
                                                                           Rudy, 2005

    •   Pavonetti, L.M., Brimmer, K.M., & Cipielewski, J.F. (2002). Accelerated
        Reader: What are the lasting effects on the reading habits of middle school
        students exposed to Accelerated Reader in elementary grades? Journal of
        Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(4), 300-312.
    •   Peak, J.P. & Dewalt, M.W. (1994). Reading achievement: Effects of
        computerized reading management and enrichment. ERS Spectrum 12(1),
    •   Samuels, S.J. & Wu, Y.C. (2004). The effects of immediate feedback on
        reading achievement. Unpublished manuscript.
    •   Torgesen, J.K. & Barker, K.A. (1995). Computers as aids in the prevention
        and remediation of reading disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 18,
    •   Vollands, S.R., Topping, K.J., & Evans, H.M. (1999). Computerized self-
        assessment of reading comprehension with Accelerated Reader: Impact on
        reading achievement and attitude. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 15(3),
    •   Walberg, H.J. (2001). Final evaluation of the reading initiative: Report to the
        J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Idaho: Albertson Foundation.
    •   Young, J.W. & Tracey, J.H. (1998). An evaluation of the Waterford Early
        Reading Program: Newark, New Jersey, 1997-1998 school year. Sandy,
        UT: Reprinted with permission by the Waterford Institute.

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