Our study aimed to compare a grapho-phonemic program, the GraphoGame (Lyytinen, Erskine, Kujala, Ojanen, & Richardson, 2009), with a cognitive program, the PREP: PASS Reading Enhancement Program (Papadopoulos, Das, Parrila, & Kirby, 2003), for the enhancement of reading performance in early school years (age 6, Grade 1). For the purposes of the study, Graphogame was adapted and piloted in Greek, a language with a transparent orthography such as Finnish, as a web-based intervention. Moreover, an electronic version of the PREP program was designed and developed.
Results revealed that children in the GraphoGame group showed sizable improvements in phonological, naming, cognitive, reading, and orthographic processing skills over time. The development in these abilities was comparable to the development seen in the CA-C group, after controlling for their initial score, which was far faster than what would be expected over participants’ school careers. The new and interesting finding is that this improvement was also observed when the two types of interventions were delivered in combination.
We also developed and applied a novel computational framework for microgenetic analysis (e.g., Siegler, 2007) to accurately describe development through intervention and to collect information regarding how the anticipated improvement was produced in the participant-treatment interaction. Traditionally, the efficacy of reading remediation programs has been determined by comparing participants’ performance to controls in measures of cognitive, linguistic, reading, and orthographic processing skills at pre-, mid-, and post-intervention assessments. However, computerized implementation of the remedial programs goes a step further and enables recording of microgenetic data during intervention. Results showed that an improved treatment should start with GraphoGame intervention, administered for at least 15 tasks and terminated by the 25th task, without significant loss in the final gain on phonemic decoding fluency. The treatment should conclude with PREP remediation to boost word reading fluency. Another interesting finding is that GraphoGame seems to facilitate more the improvement of phonemic decoding fluency skills, and that children need to have some basic word reading skills prior to remediation in order to gain from remediation on word reading fluency.
Computer-assisted remedial reading interventions can be considered as effective supportive instruments for struggling readers, if they are theory-driven and evidence-based and part of the daily classroom routines. Results emphasize on the need for devising such remedial schemes, if we wish to determine strong effects on literacy.
For more information, please contact Christiana Ktisti (@: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Timothy Papadopoulos (@: email@example.com), Department of Psychology and Center for Applied Neuroscience, University of Cyprus.