Computer-assisted reading intervention in a secondary school: An evaluation study

Lisa Lynch*, Angela J. Fawcett, Roderick I. Nicolson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


There is widespread concern over literacy standards in UK schools and growing evidence that problems become increasingly intractable as children grow older. Computer-based reading instruction may provide a 'fresh start' that helps a child to rediscover the path to literacy. Recent controlled studies demonstrated that infant and junior school children could be given very cost-effective support using RITA, a computer-based literacy support system that assists, rather than replaces, the teacher in providing support tailored to each child's profile of reading attainments. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of RITA in secondary school with 8 children (mean age 11.7 years) who were initially very seriously disadvantaged in terms of literacy skills (mean reading age 7.3 years). The RITA intervention over a 10 week period led to effective and cost-effective literacy gains. Significant overall improvements were made in the skills targeted, including reading standard scores, and reading speed, accuracy and comprehension. All children reacted positively to the RITA lessons, and most made good progress towards their Individual Education Plans. It is suggested that computer-assisted reading support can be effective in supporting the majority of children with reading failure, even in secondary school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-348
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2000


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