Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 31-51

First online:

Does whole-word multimedia software support literacy acquisition?

  • Arjette M. KaremakerAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Nottingham
  • , Nicola J. PitchfordAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Nottingham Email author 
  • , Claire O’MalleyAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Nottingham

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This study examined the extent to which multimedia features of typical literacy learning software provide added benefits for developing literacy skills compared with typical whole-class teaching methods. The effectiveness of the multimedia software Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) for Clicker in supporting early literacy acquisition was investigated through a classroom-based intervention study by comparing ORT for Clicker to traditional ORT Big Books. Sixty-one typically developing readers, aged 5–6 years, from four primary classes were each given the two interventions. Each intervention was delivered over five one-hour sessions over the course of 1 week. Performance on tasks of written word recognition, written word naming, and phonological awareness, was measured before and after each intervention. Significantly greater gains in word recognition, word naming, rhyme awareness, segmentation skill, and grapheme awareness were found after the ORT for Clicker compared to the traditional ORT Big Book intervention. This study shows that whole-word multimedia software can be more effective than traditional printed texts from the same reading scheme at supporting the development of early literacy skills.


Multimedia software ICT Literacy acquisition Whole-word reading Intervention