Assistive software tools for secondary-level students with literacy difficulties.

Alissa Lange, Martin McPhillips, Gerard Mulhern, Judith Wylie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of four assistive technology (AT) tools on literacy: (1) speech synthesis, (2) spellchecker, (3) homophone tool, and (4) dictionary. All four of these programs are featured in TextHelp’s Read&Write Gold software package. A total of 93 secondary-level students with reading disabilities participated in the study. The participants completed a number of computer-based literacy tests after being assigned to a Read&Write group or a control group that utilized Microsoft Word. The results indicated that improvements in the following areas for the Read&Write group: (1) reading comprehension, (2) homophone error detection, (3) spelling error detection, and (4) word meanings. The Microsoft Word group also improved in the areas of word meanings and error detection, though performed worse on homophone error detection. The authors contend that these results indicate that speech synthesis, spell checkers, homophone tools, and dictionary programs have a positive effect on literacy among students with reading disabilities. This study was conducted by researchers at the Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Special Education Technology
Volume21 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


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