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The Effects of ABRACADABRA on Reading Outcomes: A Meta-analysis of Applied Field Research

, , , Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance, Canada

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 26, Number 4, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This meta-analysis summarizes research on the effects of a comprehensive, interactive web-based software (AXXX) on the development of reading competencies among kindergarteners and elementary students. Findings from seven randomized control trials and quasi-experimental studies undertaken in a variety of contexts across Canada, Australia and Kenya were reviewed and analyzed. Comparing the experimental groups that used AXXX to the control groups exposed to regular literacy instruction, the studies produced sixty-five independent effect sizes in six outcome categories, as defined by the National Reading Panel (NRP, 2000). The average effects were:
• Phonics: g+ = 0.150, (k = 17, N = 914), p < .05;
• Phonemic Awareness: g+ = 0.323, (k = 19, N = 1550), p < .001;
• Reading Fluency: g+ = 0.082, (k = 5, N = 1522), p > .05 (ns);
• Reading Comprehension: g+ = 0.087, (k = 5, N = 923), p > .05 (ns);
• Listening Comprehension: g+ = 0.430, (k = 5, N = 846), p < .001;
• Vocabulary Knowledge: g+ = 0.031, (k = 14, N = 964), p > .05 (ns).
The random effects model non-independent weighted overall average effect was g+ = 0.191 (k = 65). All but one of the average effect size distributions were homogeneous, suggesting that the observed effects are generally representative of the impact that AXXX may have on novice readers. The paper concludes with a discussion of AXXX classroom uses including implementation fidelity and offers the implications of the findings for future research and development.


Abrami, P., Borohkovski, E. & Lysenko, L. (2015). The Effects of ABRACADABRA on Reading Outcomes: A Meta-analysis of Applied Field Research. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 26(4), 337-367. Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved February 22, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Studying the Effectiveness of an Online Language Learning Platform in China

    Ryan Baker, University of Pennsylvania, United States; Feng Wang & Zhenjun Ma, Learnta Inc., China; Wei Ma, Institute of Statistics and Big Data, Renmin University of China, China; Shiyue Zheng, Teachers College Columbia University, United States

    Journal of Interactive Learning Research Vol. 29, No. 1 (January 2018) pp. 5–24

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