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Word Prediction


When using word recognition software as the user types each letter, the software predicts the intended word (offering a list of adjustable length). If the intended word is in the list, the user can type the number of the word or point and click with the mouse to insert the word in the sentence. If the intended word is not present, the student can keep typing and different options will appear (MacArthur, 1996). Most research on word recognition software is quasi-experimental in nature (e.g., Evmenova, Graff, Jerome, & Behrmann, 2010; Mezei & Heller, 2012; Silio & Barbetta, 2010), but has found similar results. Specifically, researchers have found that spelling errors decreased and that total number of words for written expression tasks increased when students use word recognition (Evmenova et al., 2010). MacArthur (1998) stated that there must be a match between the student’s needs and the chosen assistive technology, especially when it comes to using word recognition software because students often require extensive training and may find the software frustrating. 


Research Rating: The information cited in this description this information is quasi-experimental, and therefore is moderately reliable for decision-making purposes. 



  • Has been shown to decrease spelling errors and increase number of words in writing samples



  • Students may require extensive training and find the software frustrating


To Consider

  • Find the right match between the student's needs and the chosen AT

Special Consideration: Workflow

OS Compatibility
Internet Reliance
Optimized Use

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250



Evmenova, A. S., Graff, H. J., Jerome, M. K., & Behrmann, M. M. (2010). Word prediction programs with phonetic spelling support: Performance comparisons and impact on journal writing for students with writing difficulties. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25, 170–182. 

MacArthur, C. A. (1996). Using technology to enhance the writing processes of students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, 344-354.

MacArthur, C. A. (1998). From illegible to understandable: How word recognition and speech synthesis can help. Teaching Exceptional Children, 30, 66-71.

MacArthur, C. A., Ferretti, R. P., Okolo, C. M., & Cavalier, A. R. (2001). Technology applications for students with literacy problems: A critical review. Elementary School Journal, 101, 273–301.

Silio, M. C., & Barbetta, P. M. (2010). Effects of word prediction on writing fluency for students with physical disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 25, 17-32.

Tumlin, J. & Heller, K. W. (2004). Using word prediction software to increase typing fluency with students with physical disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 19, 5-14.

Williams, S. C. (2002). How speech-feedback and word-prediction software can help students write. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34, 72-78.

Written by Bronwyn Lamond, Last Revision May 2018

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