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  1. Jolijn Vanderauwera
  2. Femke Vanden Bempt
  3. Jan Wouters
  4. Pol Ghesquière

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Description: Digital games have shown to have promising potential as support tools for early reading acquisition in children at risk for or diagnosed with dyslexia. Detailed technical descriptions of these tools are essential to enable comparison of treatment effects across studies with different game content, study designs and target languages. It also helps to uncover which aspects of game-based learning are driving its effectiveness. GraphoGame is a child-friendly computerized tool to support reading acquisition in beginning readers by systematically and explicitly training grapheme-phoneme correspondences. This work provides an in-depth description of the design and structure of a Flemish version of GraphoGame which was created as a preventive intervention for Flemish Dutch-speaking pre-readers at cognitive risk for dyslexia. We designed, envisioned, implemented and piloted a range of new tasks suitable for this aim in this young target population. A lot more weight was given to grapheme and phoneme identification and discrimination which are often overlooked in the training of grapheme-phoneme associations at the core of most other versions of GraphoGame. A cohort of 62 pre-reading children at cognitive risk for dyslexia (average age 5.5 years) trained with GraphoGame-Flemish on average 66 times during a 90-day intervention period. After the playing phase, more than half of these pre-readers reported that the content they played just before the end of the intervention was challenging for them. Nevertheless, they still managed to sustain a median exposure of 15 minutes per playing session over the entire three-month period and given that no child mastered all game levels, GraphoGame-Flemish has the potential to engage at-risk children at the onset of literacy in training their early-reading skills over an extended period of time.


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