Examining the impact of the ABRACADABRA (ABRA) web-based literacy program on primary school students in Hong Kong

Abstract

The current paper examined the effects of A Balanced Reading Approach for Children Always Designed to Achieve Best Results for All (ABRA), a web-based literacy programme developed by the the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University, on primary school children in Hong Kong. The participants were 249 Primary 1 students from two low social economic status schools in Hong Kong and the two schools were well-matched on many demographic characteristics. All participating students were pre-tested in the fall and post-tested in the following spring. After adjusting for pretest differences, the treatment school scored significantly higher than the controls on three of the six outcome measures at post-tests: phoneme-grapheme correspondence (ES = +0.22, p < 0.05), phoneme segmentation (ES = +0.46, p < 0.00), and nonsense word fluency (ES = +0.22, p < 0.06). Both treatment and control students scored similarly on word reading, listening comprehension, and initial sound fluency. The outcomes of the study provides some promising evidence of the effects of ABRA on Chinese primary students in Hong Kong, especially on the enhancement of phonological skills, thus leading to early success in the formative years of learning English as a Second Language (ESL). Practical implications are discussed.

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Correspondence to Barley S. Y. Mak.

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Mak, B.S.Y., Cheung, A.C.K., Guo, X. et al. Examining the impact of the ABRACADABRA (ABRA) web-based literacy program on primary school students in Hong Kong. Educ Inf Technol 22, 2671–2691 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-017-9620-3

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Keywords

  • Abracadabra
  • Educational technology
  • Web-based literacy programme
  • Hong Kong
  • Primary school students
  • English as a second language