An examination of the effectiveness of computer-assisted vs traditional strategies for tutoring students with reading difficulties in a university clinic



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The current study examined the efficacy of computer- assisted instruction (CAI) employing speech synthesis as a means of reading remediation. Specifically, it investigated whether four students using computers with speech and working with one tutor could achieve at least as well as students receiving traditional one-on-one tutoring. Sixty-two students, ranging from 6 through 14 years, and from kindergarten through eighth grade, seeking assistance from the University of Houston, Diagnostic Learning Center, for remediation of reading difficulties, were matched according to age and gender. They were then randomly assigned to either the experimental group (computer-assisted tutoring with speech) or the control group (one-on-one instruction using conventional materials and techniques). The treatment period, consisting of one-hour sessions for four days a week, lasted 16 days for all students. Content of materials was equivalent, with method of instruction as the controlled variable. The experimental group was tutored by one reading specialist, working five, consecutive hourly sessions, while the control group tutors were responsible for one session each day. Selected assessment instruments were used to evaluate achievement in each of three major areas of study: sight word ability, oral reading comprehension, and silent reading comprehension. Alternate forms of these tests were used for pre- and post-treatment administration. In addition to achievement measures, parent and student survey questionnaires were administered. [...]



Reading--Computer-assisted instruction