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Int J Speech Lang Pathol. 2019 Oct 8:1-12. doi: 10.1080/17549507.2019.1667438. [Epub ahead of print]

Can an app a day keep illiteracy away? Piloting the efficacy of Reading Doctor apps for preschoolers with developmental language disorder.

Carson KL1.

Author information

1

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University , Adelaide , Australia.

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 pre-school 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 pre-school programme inclusive of teacher-delivered small-group activities related to letters and sounds taught in a non-systematic and non-explicit fashion. Result: No significant between-group differences were identified prior to the implementation of RD. Following instruction, pre-school 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 pre-school children with DLD prior to school entry.

KEYWORDS:

iPad; language; phonics; reading; reading acquisition; technology

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