review: computer assisted instruction in reading for LD students

In References on June 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

Hall, Hughes, & Filbert (2000). Computer assisted instruction in reading for students with LD: a research synthesis.


Chard, Simmons, & Kameenui (1995). Four areas of reading skills

  • Phonological recoding
  • Alphabetic understanding of word recognition
  • Language understanding based on word recognition
  • Strong word recognition in which functions as a key for reading comprehension and higher order thinking skills


Matthew effect: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

Students with LD actually receive less reading time than their peers (Allington & Walmsley, 1995).


Teachers with students with LD continuously look for additional strategies and procedures to obtain success in decoding and comprehension skills. One logical solution is to provide more instructional time and practices for those who most desperately need to learn reading skills. One potential solution to provide additional instruction and needed practice come to us through computer technology.


A summary of 17 experimental studies spanning 17 years specifically addressing CAI in reading for student with learning disabilities.


Effective teaching practices (Ellis & Worthington, 1994)

Explicit, strategic, and scaffold instruction, engaged time, success rate, corrective feedback.


CAI can (a) instruct the difficult-to-teach at an individual pace, (b) provide immediate feedback, (c) provide instructive and consistent corrections, (d) allow for extensive rehearsal or needed repetition, and (e) be highly motivating (Reith & Semmel, 1991; Woodward et al., 1984).


Descriptors: computers, computer assisted instruction, technology, learning disabilities, learning problems, and reading.


Reviewed to

  • Identify the number and grade level of subjects participating in each student
  • Describe the number of length of CAIS sessions
  • Describe the dependent measures
  • Summarize the research outcomes
  • Type of CAI programming –drill and practice, strategy instruction, or simulation
  • Type of reading intervention –phonological, word recognition for fluency, vocabulary-word meaning, or reading comprehension and higher-order thinking skills


5-20 sessions

Duration of each session is between 15 and 20 minutes

  • Strategy instruction
  • Drill and practice
  • Simulations,
  • Tutorial
  • Writing
  • Problem solving



We may be able to help overcome the “Matthew effect”  by having CAI technology available in classrooms,

Teachers may help to provide more instruction for students with LD and improve students reading. With the implementation of CIA programs which practice e phonological recoding, word recognition, word meaning, or higher order thinking skills, students may be assigned additional instructional time to interact on the computer using a program specifically designed to provide teaching and practice in that skill areas.


the systematic instructional procedures found to be so effective for reading instruction appear to be available with carefully designed CAIS software,


Detailed strategic corrective feedback is more effective than merely notifying students if a response was correct or incorrect (Englert, 1994; Lysakowski & Walberg, 1982).



  • Contain systematic inclusion of effective teaching practices
  • Specifically address the area of reading for instruction (prereading, word recognition, vocabulary development, comprehension),
  • Address maintenance and generalization of reading skills beyond the CAI application
  • Provide elaborate correction procedure which cycle the learner back through examples relevant to the instruction

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