Authors: Lange AA, Mulhern G, Wylie J
Title: Proofreading using an assistive software homophone tool: compensatory and remedial effects on the literacy skills of students with reading difficulties
Source: Journal of Learning Disabilities 2009 42(4): 322-335
Year: 2009
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 05/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

The present study investigated the effects of using an assistive software homophone tool on the assisted proofreading performance and unassisted basic skills of secondary-level students with reading difficulties. Students aged 13 to 15 years proofread passages for homophonic errors under three conditions: with the homophone tool, with homophones highlighted only, or with no help. The group using the homophone tool significantly outperformed the other two groups on assisted proofreading and outperformed the others on unassisted spelling, although not significantly. Remedial (unassisted) improvements in automaticity of word recognition, homophone proofreading, and basic reading were found over all groups. Results elucidate the differential contributions of each function of the homophone tool and suggest that with the proper training, assistive software can help not only students with diagnosed disabilities but also those with generally weak reading skills.

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