Can an App a Day Keep Illiteracy Away? Piloting the Efficacy of Reading Doctor® Apps for Preschoolers with Developmental Language Disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated the efficacy of three Reading Doctor® (RD) apps in raising letter-sound aptitude, phoneme awareness and early decoding ability among children with heightened risk for reading difficulties due to developmental language disorder (DLD).Method: Twenty-four 4-year-old children with DLD, identified through baseline speech-language assessments, in their final term of preschool participated in this study. In the experimental condition, 14 children participated twice a week in three RD apps for 8 weeks. In the control condition, 10 children engaged in their usual preschool programme inclusive of teacher-delivered small-group activities related to letters and sounds taught in a non-systematic and non-explicit fashion.Results: No significant between-group differences were identified prior to the implementation of RD. Following instruction, preschool children in the experimental condition performed significantly better than children in the control condition in phoneme blending (p < 0.001, d = 1.86), phoneme segmentation (p < 0.001, d = 1.15) and letter-sound recognition (p < 0.001, d = 1.92), as well as in the number of correct phoneme-grapheme conversions during early decoding attempts (p = 0.025, d = 1.08).Conclusion: Initial evidence suggests that RD software may support code-based reading readiness among preschool children with DLD prior to school entry.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume2019
Early online date8 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • reading
  • phonics
  • language
  • reading acquisition
  • iPad
  • technology

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