The authors developed a digital spelling game to promote children's early literacy skills. Based on the dual-coding theory, the authors studied the benefits of auditory support alone versus auditory+visual support. Children played the game in three conditions: no support, hearing the whole word; auditory-only support, hearing a word segmented; and auditory+visual support, hearing the word segmented together with seeing the highlighted position of the letters. The participants were 129 Hebrew-speaking children (mean age = 5.7 years) from five preschools located in low–socioeconomic status neighborhoods. Children were randomly divided into one of the four groups (the three intervention conditions and a comparison group that did not play the game but watched electronic books). Children in each of the four groups participated in eight 20-minute sessions over the course of one month (two sessions per week). Children's letter knowledge (letter names and sounds), phonological awareness (word segmentation), word spelling, and word decoding were assessed before and after the intervention. Children's visuomotor and oral skills were assessed and controlled for in the analyses. Generalized estimating equations regressions showed that the auditory+visual support and auditory-only support groups scored higher on the posttest than the no-support and comparison groups in letter knowledge, phonological awareness, word spelling, and word decoding. The no-support group scored higher than the comparison group only in letter knowledge. The authors highlight ways for promoting children's understanding of the writing system and demonstrate the effectiveness of a computerized game adapted to the orthography in promoting basic early literacy skills.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Developmental and Educational Psychology