Reading has long been acknowledged to be a critical skill that is best acquired early in life. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports, American public school children continue to struggle to master the basics of reading. Although federal funding in real dollars has increased consistently over time, reading scores have not followed suit, suggesting that fiscal resources have not been applied successfully to the variables that are directly related to reading acquisition and achievement. The current state of affairs therefore suggests the need for identifying a fiscally-targetable, instructionally-relevant variable with a direct, causal relationship to early-reading achievement. One way to determine whether such a relationship exists between two variables is by means of dose-response methodology. Although this methodology has not been broadly implemented in educational research, it is attractive because it allows for the formal characterization and comparison of cause-effect relationships, and may also inform practice in readily implementable ways. Researchers have noted that time spent learning (TSL), and in particular academic learning time (ALT), is a promising candidate for a dose-response relationship with student achievement in early reading. Although ALT holds promise, there have traditionally been significant difficulties in operationalizing and quantifying it. The growing prevalence of academic software in the American public classroom holds promise for overcoming these challenges and provides an opportunity to test the hypothesis that there is a dose-response relationship between ALT and student achievement in early reading.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Reading, Early Reading, Dose-Response, Achievement, Academic Learning Time, Time Spent Learning, Technology, Computer-Based Instruction, Computers in Education



Included in

Psychology Commons