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

J.R. Wolgemuth, R.S. Savage, J. Helmer, H. Harper, T. Lea, P.C. Abrami, A. Kirby, K. Chalkiti, P. Morris, J.R. Carapetis, Bill Louden

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-264
JournalComputers & Education
Volume67
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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