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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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A grid based computer program, Clicker5, appeared to have many features that logically may assist struggling writers. It utilizes pictures, sound, speech synthesis, word banks and a spelling checker. Karemaker et al. (2008) examined the use of Clicker5 and observed increased attention and focus during reading, and greater gains in word recognition and rhyme awareness. Scattered research exists on some of the multimedia features that Clicker5 utilizes (e.g. auditory and visual instruction, specific feedback, student specific examples, Wissick & Gardner, 2000; composition processes and revision facilitation, MacArthur 2000; spell checkers with strategy instruction, and speech synthesis to increase error detection and correction, Borgh & Dickson, 1992). However, no research exists on writing outcomes utilizing Clicker5.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of individual Clicker instruction on classroom hand-written products and individually generated computer-assisted written products for children with speech-language deficits who were identified as weak writers by their teachers. A single subject multiple baseline across subjects design was utilized to investigate the research question.

The participants included 2 matched pairs of second grade students from two second grade classrooms demonstrating speech-language deficits and difficulty with writing. They were identified by teachers and the speech-language pathologist (SLP) at the Shelbyville elementary school as being at risk for reading difficulty. In the regular classroom, the Daily 6-Trait Writing program was utilized for writing instruction, and consisted of five days of instruction over a 25 week period. The students in the regular classroom filled in a graphic organizer to a writing prompt on the fourth day, and responded to the prompt on the fifth day. The intervention was conducted with one student from each matched pair in two phases, one in the fall and one in the spring, and included three 20 minute sessions each week for four weeks. Each Friday, the subjects responded to the writing prompt in the regular classroom, and then responded to it utilizing Clicker5 independently. These responses were scored on measures of form and content including total number of words, number of different words (NDW), mean length of utterance (MLU), spelling and grammatical accuracy, and local and global coherence.

Results indicated good growth in a relatively short treatment period. The phase 1 intervention subject demonstrated an increase from the initial to final writing samples in the classroom and using Clicker5 on measures of total number of words, NDW and MLU. The phase 2 intervention subject demonstrated gains on the same measures when using Clicker5 to respond to the writing prompt. Overall, spelling accuracy was higher when the subjects used Clicker5 to respond to the writing prompts. The intervention subjects also scored highest on total number of words and NDW when using Clicker5 across subjects and samples. Clinical implications include that the subjects demonstrated motivation and enjoyment when using the software program. Some limitations may be that the independent response was conducted in the presence of the primary investigator, and there was inconsistency in the classroom instruction from week to week. Future directions include a multiple baseline across subjects design and a longer treatment period with more participants.