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A Randomised Efficacy Study of Web-Based Synthetic and Analytic Programmes among Disadvantaged Urban Kindergarten Children

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Journal of Research in Reading Volume 32, Number 1, ISSN 0141-0423


This study explores whether two computer-based literacy interventions–a “synthetic phonics” and an “analytic phonics” approach produce qualitatively distinct effects on the early phonological abilities and reading skills of disadvantaged urban Kindergarten (Reception) children. Participants (n=53) were assigned by random allocation to one of the two interventions. Each intervention was generally delivered three times per week for 13 weeks as part of a reading centre approach in Kindergarten classrooms with small groups of children. In the synthetic programme children showed, as predicted, significant (p less than 0.05) improvement in CV and VC word blending and the articulation of final consonants. The children in the analytic phonics programme showed, as predicted, significant (p less than 0.05) improvements in articulating shared rimes in words. These results suggest that synthetic and analytic programmes have qualitatively different effects on children's phonological development. These phonological differences are not however immediately reflected in any qualitative differences in the way children undertook word reading or nonword decoding.


Comaskey, E.M., Savage, R.S. & Abrami, P. (2009). A Randomised Efficacy Study of Web-Based Synthetic and Analytic Programmes among Disadvantaged Urban Kindergarten Children. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(1), 92-108. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .

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