Effectiveness of computerised spelling training in children with language impairments: A comparison of modified and unmodified speech input
Bishop D., Adams C., Lehtonen A., Rosen S.
This study evaluated a computerised program for training spelling in 8- to 13-yearolds with receptive language impairments. The training program involved children typing words corresponding to pictured items whose names were spoken. If the child made an error or requested help, the program gave phonological and orthographic cues to build up the word's spelling. Eleven children received this training with ordinary speech, and eleven had the same program but with speech modified to lengthen and amplify dynamic portions of the signal. Nine children were in an untrained control group. Trained children completed between 6 and 29 training sessions each of 15 minutes, at a rate of 3 to 5 sessions per week, with an average of over 1000 trials. Children were assessed before and after training. Trained children learned an average of 1.4 novel spellings per session. The trend was for children presented with modified speech to do less well than those trained with ordinary speech, regardless of whether they had auditory temporal processing impairments. Trained groups did not differ from the untrained control group in terms of gains made on standardised tests of spelling or word and nonword reading. This study confirms the difficulty of training literacy skills in children with severe language impairments. Individual words may be learned, but more general knowledge of rule-based phonological skills is harder to acquire. © United Kingdom Literacy Association 2005.