Examining the Effects of ABRACADABRA,
a Web-Based Literacy Program for Primary
School Students in Rural China


This study investigated the effects of A Balanced Reading Approach for Children Always Designed to Achieve Best Results for All (ABRACADABRA [ABRA]), a web-based literacy program developed by the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University, on primary school children in rural China. Approximately 360 third grade students from 10 schools (five experimental and five control schools) participated in a year-long matched control study. Treatment and control schools were matched on demographic variables and academic performance. Participants in both conditions were assessed before and after the intervention using a standardized reading instrument. After adjusting for initial pre-test difference, experimental students scored significantly higher on all three key reading outcomes: Phonological Awareness (ES = +.63), Phonemic Awareness (ES = +.59), Early Grade Literacy Skills (ES = +.38), Initial Sound Fluency (ES = +.43), Segmenting (ES = +.87), and Non-Word Reading (ES = +1.02). The study provided evidence that ABRA is not only effective in the context where English is used as a first or second language, such as Canada, Australia, or Hong Kong, but is also effective in a context where English is used as a foreign language (EFL).

Recommended Citation

Cheung, A. C. K., & Guo, X. (2018). Examining the effects of ABRACADABRA, a web-based literacy program for primary school students in rural China. Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development.

This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.