Computer-Based Instruction to Improve Literacy Performance of Students with Disabilities

Abstract This study was initiated, at least in part, due to the researcher’s school district purchased a computer-based intervention program for use with students eligible for special education, English learners and other learners needing literacy intervention. The researcher is responsible for the design and delivery of special education services for 24 students for whom this program was intended. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of using the adopted computer-based instructional approach, Imagine Learning, in combination with the traditional Accelerated Reading literacy instructional approach to improve the overall literacy skills of students with mild and moderate disabilities as compared to instruction using only the traditional Accelerated Reading approach. Student data was collected over the period of a school year for a control group of students in a classroom in which Imagine Learning was not used and the experimental group taught by the research, who supplemented the use of Accelerated Reading with Imagine Learning. Results suggest that students in the experimental group outperformed those in the control group across measures, although a significant proportion of students in both groups made little or no progress or regressed in their performance on the assessment measures. There was no relationship between the number of minutes students engaged in Imagine Learning instruction and student performance. Given the obvious limitations of comparing results for students who were at different grade levels and who are instructed in different classrooms by different teachers, results are inconclusive, but clearly beg for further investigation of the effectiveness of computer-based instruction as a component of the literacy instruction of students eligible for special education.