Optimum Use of Digital Supports to Promote Reading Comprehension

Susan Rvachew, Leadership Team - MU

6 January 2022


The purpose of this project is to study English-speaking third-grade children’s comprehension of digital stories, presented as a succession of screens containing an illustration, a panel of text, and an avatar that provides information or asks questions about the story. Children will read each story 3 times and will read two stories after recruitment into the study. Stories will be presented with minimal reading supports (control) condition or with carefully controlled amounts and types of digital supports, contrasting across children: cognitive versus meta-cognitive supports; text versus audiovisual information; and passive versus active engagement with the support material. The outcome measure will be a story-specific measure of learning from the story that covers recall of the story, word reading, vocabulary and morphology knowledge. Outcomes will be conditioned on intake measures of the children’s word reading speed and accuracy, inhibition, and phonological memory. 

The stories that we have developed include one story from the African Story Book (https://storybookscanada.ca/stories/en/0072/) and one story from First People (https://www.firstpeople.us/). Currently we are working with Becky Chen’s lab to develop similarly supported stories from Storybooks Canada in French for use in French immersion schools. 

Story software and remote testing protocols are in development. Data collection has not started as of December 2021.

Next steps: recruitment of children; implementation of protocol with at least 30 children.