• computer-based reading programme;
  • reading problems;
  • externalising behaviours;
  • internalising behaviours;
  • phonetics

Basic literacy skills underlie much future adult functioning, and are targeted in children through a variety of means. Children with identified special needs in reading were exposed to a self-paced computer-based reading programme that focused on improving phonetic ability. Exposure was limited to three, 40-minute sessions a week, for 10 weeks. The children were assessed in terms of their reading, spelling and mathematics abilities before the programme commenced, and immediately after the programme terminated. The programme improved reading and spelling by about eight months, but had no impact on mathematics. The results suggest that brief exposure to a self-paced phonetic computer-based teaching programme had some benefits for the sample.