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The effectiveness of education technology for enhancing reading achievement

This review summarises research on the effects of technology use on reading achievement in primary and secondary school classrooms.

We conducted a literature search of all articles written between 1980 and 2010, and applied consistent inclusion standards to focus on studies that met high methodological standards. A total of 84 studies were included in the final analysis, based on over 60,000 primary and secondary school participants.

The four major categories of education technology reviewed were:

  • Computer-managed learning, which included only Accelerated Reader. This programme uses computers to assess children’s reading levels, assigning reading materials at their levels, scoring tests on those readings, and charting pupil progress. Children do not work directly on the computer with Accelerated Reader.
  • Innovative technology applications, such as Fast ForWord, Reading Reels, and Lightspan.
  • Comprehensive models, such as READ 180, Writing to Read, and Voyager Passport. These programmes use computer-assisted teaching along with non-computer activities as pupils’ core reading approach.
  • Supplemental technology, such as Destination Reading, Plato Focus, Waterford, and WICAT. These programmes provide additional instruction at pupils’ assessed levels of need to supplement traditional classroom teaching.

Technology and reading achievement

Educator's summary

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Key findings

Review methods

Full report (55 pages)

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