Designing products that are considered easy to use and beautiful, yet also effectively addressing the communication problem, can be a difficult challenge for any designer. This paper explains the development of See Words, a digital tool that explores letterforms when teaching beginning reading principles to children at risk of reading difficulties. After conducting a pilot study with this tool, we assert that dynamic type within digital technologies can offer an even greater opportunity to master alphabetic consolidation by using the engagement of multiple senses.
Study 1 See Words: School Research
2012: Seward, O’Brien, Breit-Smith & Meyer, 2014
- 33 students: K – 1st graders after-school study
- Matched pair randomized controlled design with a cross-over treatment study
- 3x/week for 30 minutes – 20 total sessions
Gain scores from See Words training and Control sessions were submitted to a mixed model repeated measures analysis with fixed factors of condition [See Words vs. control]. wave [first, second session]. group sequence [order of treatments]. a random factor of participants, and covariates of attendance and grade. Condition was marginally significant for word identification [M’s 5.0 vs. 2.2, p .07] and grade was a significant covariate fp .03]. Other measures did not show significant gain effects across conditions. However, a larger proportion of children showed greater See Words gains on word identification.
Study 2 See Words: School Research
- 17 students: K – 1st graders who scored low on standardized testing in an after- school study
- Regression discontinuity design
- 2x/week for 30 minutes – 30 total sessions
At pre-test K students in the intervention group scored between 1.5 and 3.2 and K students in the control group scored between 5.86 and 6.71.
At post-test K students in the intervention group scored between 7.4 and 9 and K students in the control group scored between 8.71 and 9.
Study 3 See Words: School Research
- 89 kindergarteners from 5 International Schools in Singapore
- Controlled study done during the school day after core reading instruction
- 90 min/week – 12 weeks
Children taught with this approach made greater gains in decoding on average, and more of these children showed greater improvement in spelling than the control group. Mixed model analysis was run on post-test measures of decoding, word reading and spelling, with a fixed variable of experimental condition (reading vs. math instruction), a random variable of participants nested within treatment groups, and with pre-test scores, cognitive ability and phonological awareness covaried. The effect of experimental condition was significant for decoding, F(1,12) = 5.73, p = .03, with the reading group performing better than the math control at post-test.
Study 4 See Words: School Research
- 96 kindergarteners from 3 public schools whose parents consented to a non-controlled study
- Collected curriculum-based measurement data for two bench-marking periods within the academic year
- 30 min/2x per week – 15 weeks total
Results include mean and standard deviation (SD) values for DIBELS scores at the middle and end of the year and difference score, t-values, degrees of freedom (df), and significance values. As shown, DIBELS mean scores increased from the middle (19.8) of the year (prior to receiving See Words) to end (42.7) of the year (after receiving See Words). Scores more than doubled and this increase was statistically significantly different from zero (t=9.84, df=94, p < 0.001). Students in CCPA came from four kindergarten classrooms.