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Using Educational Technology to Develop Early Literacy Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Education and Information Technologies Volume 21, Number 4, ISSN 1360-2357


The research explores the impact of interactive, multimedia literacy software (ABRA) on the reading skills of early elementary students in Kenya. Twelve grade two English teachers and their students from six schools were randomly divided in half: an experimental group (N = 180) where ABRA was part of their English Language instruction and a control group (N = 174) where regular instruction was used. After the pre-test student data were collected, a three-day initial training and planning session were held for the experimental teachers on how to use ABRA to teach literacy. Every week each experimental class was bussed to a computer lab with full access to ABRA for one 90-min lesson. Teacher support included the alignment of ABRA lesson plans with the Kenyan English Language norms, weekly web conferences with the trainer, as well as technical and pedagogical help from staff at the lab site. After the 13-week intervention, significant and substantial gains in reading comprehension were found for ABRA students as measured by GRADE, a standardized test of literacy. In addition, ABRA students outperformed their peers in control classes on the core end-of-year subject exams including English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.


Abrami, P.C., Wade, C.A., Lysenko, L., Marsh, J. & Gioko, A. (2016). Using Educational Technology to Develop Early Literacy Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa. Education and Information Technologies, 21(4), 945-964. Retrieved June 26, 2022 from .

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