Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Challenges of New Media for the Development of Early Literacy Skills in Children at Risk



The computer programme 'Living Letters' is designed to make children aware that letters in written words relate to sounds in spoken words, with their proper names as a starting point. A randomized pre- posttest control group design will be used to test the hypothesis that weak cognitive control interferes with early literacy interventions on the computer.

Level of executive functioning, vocabulary, letter knowledge, and phoneme awareness will be measured. The focus will be on children from low social economic backgrounds. During the computer tasks children’s mouse behavior will be registered to examine how they proceed while solving the tasks.

Further, the efficacy of the feedback mechanisms and help options that are built into the computer programme will be tested. We hypothesize that uncontrolled computer behavior increases without the feedback and help options that are offered by the present programme.

Key publications

Kegel, C. A. T., Van der Kooy- Hofland, V. A. C., Bus, A. G. (2009). Improving early phoneme skills with a computer program: Differential effects of regulatory skills. (pdf)

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