A Comparison of the Efficacy of Phonics Instruction With and Without Technology

Author/Creator ORCID





Masters of Education

Citation of Original Publication


Collection may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. To obtain information or permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Goucher Special Collections & Archives at 410-337-6347 or email archives@goucher.edu.


This study, a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design, was conducted by a first grade classroom teacher to determine if providing opportunities for first grade students to practice phonics using an iPad and computer games would increase their phonics skills more than using traditional methods of teaching phonics which did not include technology. Students from three first grade classes with relatively low DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) scores were randomly assigned to one of three groups. All students received the same daily phonics instruction as part of their reading curriculum. One group participated in supplemental phonics practice using the iPad and computer games. Another group received supplemental phonics practice using paper-and-pencil methods and hands-on techniques such as manipulating materials and playing word games. A third group did not receive any additional phonics practice. At the conclusion of the study, all students were tested using a parallel version of the previously given DIBELS tests and the gain scores of the three groups were compared. The results of the study demonstrated improvement in test scores for all three groups. There was not a significant difference in student gain scores for the three groups. Ratings of participants’ attitudes towards their activities suggested that there were positive effects of using technology to practice phonics skills. The technology group found their activities more enjoyable and helpful than the traditional group. This finding suggests that students enjoyed practicing phonics on the iPad and computer more than they did using traditional methods. Further research should be conducted to explore how specific technologies can be used most effectively to improve the phonics skills of first grade students.