Effects of ABRACADABRA literacy instruction on children with autism spectrum disorder

Benjamin Bailey, Joanne Arciuli, Roger J. Stancliffe

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36 Scopus citations


This study explored the effects of ABRACADABRA, a free computer-assisted literacy program, on the reading accuracy and comprehension skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABRACADABRA is a balanced literacy instruction program, targeting both code and meaning-based reading abilities. Twenty children with ASD, aged 5-11 years, were assigned by matched pairs to the instruction group or wait-list control group. Literacy instruction was delivered on a 1:1 basis in participants' homes over a 13-week period (26 sessions per participant). Pre and post instruction assessment using standardized measures revealed statistically significant gains in reading accuracy and comprehension for the instruction group relative to the wait-list control group, with large effect sizes. These findings indicate that children with ASD may benefit from ABRACADABRA literacy instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partly supported by a Future Fellowship awarded to Joanne Arciuli by the Australian Research Council (FT130101570). Benjamin Bailey conducted this research as part of his PhD under the supervision of Joanne Arciuli (primary supervisor) and Roger J. Stancliffe (auxiliary supervisor). The authors thank the children and families who participated in this study. The authors also thank the staff at the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance for their assistance in implementing the ABRACADABRA program in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • ASD
  • Autism
  • Literacy
  • Reading accuracy
  • Reading comprehension


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