Research by Topic
Below are selected research studies that investigate issues important to technology, reading instruction, and literacy. The resources are listed alphabetically by author and include links to the item or to where it can be purchased.
Computer-Assisted Instruction in Initial Reading: The Stanford Project
Atkinson, R., & Hansen, D. (1966-1967). Computer-assisted instruction in initial reading: The Stanford Project. Reading Research Quarterly, 2, 5-26.
Computerized Self-Assessment of Reading Comprehension With the Accelerated Reader: Action Research
Vollands, Stacy R., Topping, Keith J., & Evans, Ryka M. (1999). Computerized Self-Assessment of Reading Comprehension With the Accelerated Reader: Action Research. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 15, 197-211.
This study was a quasi-experimental action research evaluation of a program for computerized self-assessment of reading comprehension (The Accelerated Reader). It looked at the formative effects on reading achievement and motivation in two schools in severely socio-economically disadvantaged areas. The results suggested that the program, even when less than fully implemented, yielded gains in reading achievement for these at-risk readers that were superior to gains from regular classroom teaching and an alternative intensive method, even with less time devoted to class silent reading practice than in comparison classes. Additionally, the program yielded significant improvement in measured attitudes to reading for girls.
Computer-based Phonological Awareness and Reading Instruction
Wise, B.W., & Olson, R.K. (1995). Computer-based phonological awareness and reading instruction. Annals of Dyslexia, 45, 99-122.
Elementary students (n=105) with problems in word recognition were given computer-assisted instruction involving either only reading words in context, or reading words in context and completing exercises involving individual words (to increase their phonological awareness). The latter group showed significant gains on tests of phoneme awareness and rapid word recognition.
Individual Differences in Gains for Computer-Assisted Remedial Reading
Wise, B.W., Ring, J., Olson, R.K. (2000, November). Individual Differences in Gains for Computer-Assisted Remedial Reading. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, pp.197-235.
Two hundred second- to fifth-grade students (aged approximately 7 to 11 years) spent 29 h in a computer-assisted remedial reading program that compared benefits from accurate, speech-supported reading in context, with and without explicit phonological training. Children in the "accurate-reading-in-context" condition spent 22 individualized computer hours reading stories and 7 small-group hours learning comprehension strategies. Children in the "phonological-analysis" condition learned phonological strategies in 7 small-group hours, and divided their computer time between phonological exercises and story reading.
Phonologically trained children gained more in phonological skills and untimed word reading; children with more contextual reading gained more in time-limited word reading. Lower level readers gained more, and benefited more from phonological training, than higher level readers. In follow-up testing, most children maintained or improved their levels, but not their rates, of training gains. Phonologically trained children scored higher on phonological decoding, but children in both conditions scored equivalently on word reading.
Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age
Barron, B., Cayton-Hodges, G., Bofferding, L., Copple, C., Darling-Hammond, L., & Levine, M. (2011). Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Children in a Digital Age. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
In January 2010, the Cooney Center and the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute convened a Digital Age Teacher Preparation Council to look at current practices for teaching young children and to design a professional development action plan for integrating the effective use of technology in preschool and the primary grades. This report describes the Council's action plan to enhance teacher education and a higher quality, 21st century approach to the learning and healthy development of children in preschool and the primary grades. The report sets forth several goals for the nation to meet by 2020, including advancing technology integration and infrastructure; a more robust professional training program for early education professionals; the expanded use of public media as cost-effective assets for teachers; and the establishment of a Digital Teacher Corps.
Technology for Developing Children's Language and Literacy: Bringing Speech Recognition to the Classroom
Adams, M.J. (2011). Technology for Developing Children's Language and Literacy: Bringing Speech Recognition to the Classroom, New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), about fifty percent of low-income fourth graders in our nation's schools are unable to read at a basic level. In this report, Brown University's Marilyn Jager Adams, a pioneer in literacy research and practice, points to evidence that speech recognition technology — which is widely used in telephone call-routing and directory assistance — can be tapped as a cost-effective and technically viable means to advance early childhood literacy, particularly fluency. When coupled with effective pedagogy, voice recognition tools can provide valuable assessments that reach beyond the human capacities of the average public school classroom teacher. Adams argues that this emerging technology has the potential to offer real-time literacy support to every student by helping young children learn reading with the fluency needed to compete and cooperate in an increasingly complex age.
Print Books vs. E-books
Chiong, C., Ree, J., & Takeuchi, L. (2012). Print books vs. e-books. Joan Ganz Cooney Center.
This initial small-scale study explored parent–child interactions as they read print and digital books together. How do adults and children read e-books compared to print books? How might the nature of parent-child conversations differ across platforms? Which design features of e-books appear to support parent-child interaction? Do any features detract from these interactions?
Reading as Thinking: Integrating Strategy Instruction in a Universally Designed Digital Literacy Environment
Dalton, B. and Proctor, C. P. (2007). Reading as thinking: Integrating strategy instruction in a universally designed digital literacy environment. In D.S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading comprehension strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies (423-442). Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
As reading content in a digital format becomes more important, a question emerges: how can digital reading environments be created to support all students? Here Dalton and Proctor discuss the variety of supports that could be included in designing a "Universal Literacy Environment" for students "in the margins." In particular, they focus on how to help build learners' comprehension.
The Efficacy of Electronic Books in Fostering Kindergarten Children's Emergent Story Understanding
De Jong, M., & Bus, A. (2004). The efficacy of electronic books in fostering kindergarten children's emergent story understanding. Reading Research Quarterly, 39, 378-393.
A counterbalanced, within-subjects design was carried out to study the efficacy of electronic books in fostering kindergarten children's emergent story understanding. The study compared effects of children's independent reading of stories electronically with effects of printed books read aloud by adults. Participants were 18 four- to five-year-old Dutch kindergarten children in the initial stages of developing story comprehension but beyond just responding to pictures.
Electronic reading produced experiences and effects similar to adult-read printed books. Children frequently interacted with the animations often embedded in electronic stories, but there was no evidence that the animations distracted children from listening to the text presented by electronic books, nor that the animations interfered with story understanding. Findings suggested that children at this stage of development profited from electronic books at least when electronic books are read in a context where adults also read books to children.
Technology in Schools: What the Research Says
Fadel, C., & Lemke, C. (2006). Technology in Schools: What the Research Says. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/TechnologyinSchoolsReport.pdf.
This paper examines emergent research findings on the effect of technology on learning. It looks at both descriptive studies and rigorous research, providing trend data about technological innovations. The effect of various technologies on student learning are discussed, including: television, video, calculators, interactive whiteboards, portable devices, virtual learning, computer-assisted instruction, and 1:1 ratio of computers and students.
Technology in Early Education: Building Platforms for Connections and Content that Strengthen Families and Promote Success in School
Guernsey, L. (2012). technology in early education: Building platforms for connections and content that strengthen families and promote success in school. The Progress of Education Reform, 14(4), 7-14.
This report looks at trends in digital media use by young children, how to effectively use parents and librarians as partners in early learning, and recommendations for building integrated technology platforms for early education.
Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators
Guernsey, L., Levine, M., Chiong, C. Stevens, M. (2012). Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators. Washington DC: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Digital apps designed to teach young children to read are an increasingly large share of the market, but parents and educators have little to no information about whether and how they work. Produced as part of a collaboration between the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the New America Foundation, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, this report scans the market of digital products and shares promising practices and programs.
Always Connected: The New Digital Media Habits of Young Children
Gutnick, A. L., Robb, M., Takeuchi, L., & Kotler, J. Always connected: The new digital media habits of young children. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
This report by Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center takes a fresh look at data emerging from studies undertaken by Sesame Workshop, independent scholars, foundations, and market researchers on the media habits of young children, who are often overlooked in the public discourse that focuses on tweens and teens. The report reviews seven recent studies about young children and their ownership and use of media. By focusing on very young children and analyzing multiple studies over time, the report arrives at a new, balanced portrait of children’s media habits.
Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning
McCombs, J. (2011). Making summer count: How summer programs can boost children's learning. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
A review of the literature on summer learning loss and summer learning programs, coupled with data from ongoing programs offered by districts and private providers across the United States, demonstrates the potential of summer programs to improve achievement as well as the challenges in creating and maintaining such programs. School districts and summer programming providers can benefit from the existing research and lessons learned by other programs in terms of developing strategies to maximize program effectiveness and quality, student participation, and strategic partnerships and funding. Recommendations for providers and policymakers address ways to mitigate barriers by capitalizing on a range of funding sources, engaging in long-term planning to ensure adequate attendance and hiring, and demonstrating positive student outcomes.
Scaffolding English Language Learners and Struggling Readers in a Universal Literacy Environment with Embedded Strategy Instruction and Vocabulary Support
Proctor, C. P., Dalton, B., and Grisham, D.L. (2007). "Scaffolding English language learners and struggling readers in a universal literacy environment with embedded strategy instruction and vocabulary support." Journal of Literacy Research, 39, 71-93.
Today teachers are charged with including all students in literacy instruction, even those who have previously struggled in traditional school environments. One group that has struggled in the past is English Language Learners (ELLs). Proctor, Dalton, and Grisham discuss a 4-week study that used supported digital text to assist ELLs with reading comprehension. They found that embedding features did help promote learners' use of comprehension strategies.
The Effects of Computer-mediated Texts on the Vocabulary Learning and Comprehension of Intermediate Grade Readers
Reinking, D., & Rickman, S.S. (1990). The effects of computer-mediated texts on the vocabulary learning and comprehension of intermediate grade readers. Journal of Reading Behavior, 22, 395-411.
Investigates whether intermediate-grade readers' vocabulary learning and comprehension is affected by displaying texts on a computer screen that provides the meaning of difficult words. Concludes that the results support and help explain previous studies that found increases in comprehension when computer-mediated texts were used to expand or control readers' options for acquiring information.
iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category on Apple's App Store
Shuler, C. (2009). iLearn; A Content Analysis of the iTunes App Store's Education Section. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
This week, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop released iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple's App Store, an examination of nearly 200 top-selling education category apps for Apple's iPad and iPhone with the goal of understanding this market's dynamics and trends. The analysis highlights industry best practices and future opportunities for developers, educators and researchers to influence this important, but under-scrutinized category by closely examining the content of children's apps within the education category.
Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children's Learning
Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children's Learning. New York: Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
Advances in mobile technologies are showing enormous untapped educational potential for today's generation. This just-released report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop outlines mobile market trends and innovations, as well as key opportunities such as mobile's ability to reach underserved populations and provide personalized learning experiences. National strategy recommendations include establishment of a Digital Teachers Corps and a White House initiative on digital learning.
Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age
Takeuchi, L. M. Families matter: Designing media for a digital age. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
A new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, focuses on two complementary studies that document how families with young children are integrating digital media into the rhythm of daily life. Results from a survey of more than 800 parents of children ages 3 through 10 reveal how parents nationwide feel about raising children in a digital age. In-depth case studies provide further insight into these statistics, probing how parent attitudes toward technology, along with family values, routines, and structures, are shaping young children's experiences using digital media.
Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health
Thai, M.T., Lowenstein, D., Ching, D., Rejeski, D. (2009). Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
Younger and younger children are becoming immersed in the new gaming culture. If you think this is an unhealthy trend, you are not alone. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center addresses this concern in this policy brief. The report proposes that a national investment in research-based digital games can help children learn healthy behaviors, core skills like reading and math, and 21st-century strengths such as critical thinking, global learning, and programming design.
Video Game Report Card
Walsh, D. and Gentile, D. (2008). The MediaWise® 13th Annual Video Game Report Card. Minneapolis, MN: National Institute on Media and the Family, www.mediawise.org.
Conducted by the National Institute on Media and the Family, the Video Game Report Card aims to provide a snapshot of the interactive gaming industry as it relates to children and teens. This twelfth annual report finds: kids know more about the ESRB ratings than their parents; few parents play the games their kids play; more parents understand TV ratings than video game ratings; and retailers and game makers are complacent, at best, about using and enforcing ratings. It also has a list of recommended games, and games to avoid.
The Digital Promise: Transforming Learning with Innovative Uses of Technology
Wellings, J. and Levine, M. (2009). The Digital Promise: Transforming Learning with Innovative Uses of Technology. New York: Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
This white paper, presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Apple, describes how investment in technology tools, network access, professional development, and new personalized curricula can help schools address each of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's four reform goals and simultaneously modernize to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Innovative examples and related resources are offered on how technology can be used to promote literacy and to engage struggling learner.