Read, Write & Type! Research Results:
The Writing Wagon Project
In a classroom study conducted at Millard School in Fremont, California, 94 first graders received instruction using Read, Write & Type! in two 1-hour sessions per week for a seven month period. The performance of these children was compared to that of 50 first graders from a comparable elementary school who started with higher reading levels than the students from Millard School. The Millard School children achieved significantly higher end of year scores on phoneme blending, reading nonwords, and spelling.
The Writing Wagon Project, carried out by Talking Fingers (CNS) and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, delivered laptop computers for 56 hours (2 hours/week, November, 1996-June, 1997) to 94 first graders at Millard School in Fremont, California.
The 94 Millard first graders and a comparison group of 50 first graders at a nearby school were tested at the beginning and at the end of the project with the following tests: 1. Blending Phonemes, 2. Reading Nonwords, 3. Reading Words, 4. Elision, 5. Spelling. They were also tested at the end of the project with the following tests: 6. Woodcock-Johnson Word Attack, 7. Woodcock-Johnson Word Identification, 8. WRAT Spelling, 9. Typing.
In summary, although the Comparison Group started out ahead on every test, the RWT! Group scored significantly higher on Blending Phonemes, Reading Nonwords, and Spelling at the end of the project and made significantly greater improvement on all pre-post tests than the Comparison Group. They could find keys (keyboard and screen covered) with an average of 93% accuracy.
Students in a small Special Day class (including several autistic students) also used the computers twice/week. Although they were not tested, the teacher reports that students made noticeable progress in reading, writing, and typing. These students were highly motivated to use the computer and were more focused while working at the computer with headphones than they were during teacher instruction.
Conclusions: The Read, Write & Type! approach boosted first grade reading and spelling scores significantly. In addition, students acquired a foundation of computer skills that will make their work more and more efficient as they continue through elementary school. This research suggests that if this approach were implemented widely, it could make a significant improvement in reading scores across the nation.
In order to help schools integrate the Talking Fingers family of products into their curriculum, we have correlated both our software programs with the Language Arts standards of each of the 50 states.