A Randomized Control Trial of Computer-Based vs. Paper ABRACADABRA: Impacts on Reading and Spelling, Reading Motivation, Self-Esteem and Enjoyment

A Randomized Control Trial of Computer-Based vs. Paper ABRACADABRA: Impacts on Reading and Spelling, Reading Motivation, Self-Esteem and Enjoyment

First Author: Kristen Sha -- University of Western Ontario
Additional authors/chairs: 
Robert Savage
Keywords: ABRACADABRA, Reading, Spelling, Reading Motivation, Reading Self-Concept
Abstract / Summary: 

This pre-test post-test randomized control trial investigated the effectiveness of a web-based early literacy tool, A Balanced Approach for Children Designed to Achieve Best Results for All (ABRACADABRA), comparing the effects of delivery format (computer versus paper) on students’ reading and spelling skills, reading motivation, self-esteem and enjoyment. Based on critiques of technology by Clark (1983) and the time-displacement hypothesis of technology (Vandewater, Bickham, & Lee, 2006), technology is predicted to have negative effects on learning and related percepts. Based on these models, hypotheses predicted negative effects of computer over paper ABRACADABRA delivery medium on participants’ reading and spelling skills, reading motivation, reading self-esteem and reading enjoyment at post-test. The ABRACADABRA intervention involved delivering three weekly 15-minute supplemental reading sessions for eight weeks during the school day. Results showed comparable positive effects of both the computer-based and paper ABRACADABRA instruction on participants’ reading and spelling at post-test and little evidence of difference by medium of intervention delivery on reading motivation, self-esteem, and enjoyment. It was concluded that the computer-based intervention does not have negative effects over its paper counterpart on students’ literacy skills, and related literacy percepts, and provide no support for the time-displacement hypothesis in this context.