Technology has advanced our world in many ways and computer applications can help children learning to read. Just one of the many improvements has been in the area of helping children read. Since each individual learns differently, there are many children that benefit from reading applications and computer programs.
The variety of different computer programs and tablet applications allow students with different sets of skills to learn words, vocabulary, and comprehension and make it easier for them than traditional books or instruction.
Studies Showing Improved Learning Capabilities with the Use of Computers or Applications
According to the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, researchers have recorded that using a computer is more successful in the following areas, which can apply to both children and adults:
- Critical thinking skills
- Customization and student interests
- Human interaction
- Student collaboration
- Accommodating disabilities
- Using drill for memorization
- Performing real-life tasks
- Performing complex tasks
Computer Aided Instruction
With children, CAI, or Computer Aided Instruction has been implemented since the 1980’s and testing has shown the educational benefits the one on one instructions and visual stimulations benefited children’s learning and increased comprehension. The different types of instruction given through Computer Aided Instruction include drill and practice, strategy instruction, and simulation.
Computers also allow students learning to read to break it down into the different components like pre-reading skills, word recognition, vocabulary, and comprehension. When using computers, the children benefit from getting extra practice time with extra drills and exercises. It also benefits teachers to be more efficient by maintaining records, running reports, assessing progress and allows them the tools for diagnosing problems earlier than just manual testing and observation.
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities uncovered through research the following findings:
- Computer Aided Instruction programs in reading for students with LD were most likely to employ drill-and-practice procedures, followed by strategy instruction, then simulation.
- The skill areas upon which CAI reading programs focused were evenly split between word recognition and reading comprehension, followed by language/vocabulary, then pre-reading skills instruction.
- Most students improved in reading when using computer-assisted instruction.
- Students with LD receiving CAI in reading increased performance in reading decoding and reading comprehension.
- The results of the research shows that the Computer Aided Instruction programs that included feedback (the more elaborate, the better) for the children’s responses in addition to providing opportunities to correct any mistakes and rehearse the proper answer were the most effective.
- Smartphone technology definitely impacts the way children gather and organize information. PBS conducted a study with a grant from the Department of Educations. The study found that the use of educational iPhone applications increased children’s vocabulary acquisition by 31% in two weeks’ time.
What This Means for Children Learning to Read
One of the largest benefits of learning on computer programs or applications on devices is that children get the repetition and are interested because they are fun and designed to be like games. In addition to feeling like a game, the programs and apps give rewards and increase in level with goals in place. \
Programs and applications add an increased level of interactivity when the programs let the child know if an answer was wrong and visually shows them the correct answer. Interactivity is also made possible in some applications that highlight words as they are being read and includes imagery to represent words for increased association and improved learning. Another benefit of computer programs and applications is the time saved in the set up and time spent using alternative teaching methods, such as making flash cards.
Touch screen devices also mean that even young children can access and use applications without even having to be old enough to manipulate a mouse. Learning can start earlier and advance the learning of children when educators and parents explore the right programs and applications that work best for each individual child.
When it comes to learning, if these studies and research results show anything, it is that variety is the most important thing. Providing different exercises that employ the newest and latest technology in addition to traditional teaching and studying methods allows you to find what works best for each child on an individual basis.
Read more about Computer Aided Instruction
Bio: Tegan Connor is blogger and Brand Manager for Neverlandstore.com.au. She enjoys writing about learning topics, as well as fashion, lifestyle, and how computer applications can help children learning to read