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Title: Assistive software for secondary-level students with reading difficulties: compensatory and remedial effects on literacy skills
Author: Lange, A. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3604 8557
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Poor reading skills can be detrimental to success in life (Lyon, Alexander, & Yaffee, 1997). Assistive software is a reading aid that can compensate for weaknesses that could otherwise hinder the progress ofweak readers (Higgins & Raskind, 2005). This thesis explores how assistive software tools can be most effective when used in a compensatory manner with secondary-level students with poor reading skills. Use of four assistive tools - speech synthesis, spellchecker, homophone tool, and dictionaryresulted in compensatory benefits on all measures ofliteracy compared to a Full Control group (Study 1), and on two of four measures compared to aMicrosoft Word Control group. Study 2 extended this work by investigating in more detail the effects of one tool, the homophone tool, on assisted proofreading and on unassisted reading skills. Differences between Assistive Software and Highlight groups compared to a Full Control group revealed that each function of the homophone tool made a differential contribution to compensation. The impact ofthis tool on measures such as word recognition, varied depending on a number of factors, including homophone error frequency. Group differences in Studies 1 & 2 have implications for the processes underlying the reading comprehension and proofreading ability ofweak readers. Using the homophone tool in a compensatory manner also led to remedial improvements in basic skills, such as spelling. A number ofbenefits of the intervention were found for all groups, suggesting effects of increased print exposure. A follow-up study was conducted 5-6 months after Study 2, which found that some, but not all, of the remedial improvements persisted (Study 3). Finally, a summary of findings, implications and limitations from the three studies, along with possible directions for further research, are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available