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Examining the efficacy of two computerized reading programs for kindergarten students at -risk for reading and behavior problems

Julie Clarfield, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study investigated the effects of two computerized reading programs, Headsprout and Lexia, on the early reading skills of Kindergarten students. The Kindergarteners included typically developing students, as well as students at-risk for reading problems, behavior problems, and both reading and behavior problems. Risk status was determined through the use of the Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders (SSBD) and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). A treatment comparison design was used, whereby 42 students in one school received computerized supplemental reading instruction via the Headsprout program, while 44 students in another school served as the comparison group and used the computerized reading program, Lexia. Both schools used the computerized programs as supplements to the Scott Foresman reading curriculum. Data were collected on early literacy skill development using the DIBELS and the Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE). The social validity of the Headsprout program was assessed through a survey administered to the teachers. Overall, the group receiving the Headsprout intervention outperformed the group receiving the Lexia intervention on all dependent measures, and statistical significance was found for two of the outcome measures. Limitations of the study, implications for educators, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Literacy|Reading instruction|Preschool education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Clarfield, Julie, "Examining the efficacy of two computerized reading programs for kindergarten students at -risk for reading and behavior problems" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3216946.