Engaging children in conversations during story reading


College of Computer Studies


Software Technology

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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ICCE 2018 - 26th International Conference on Computers in Education, Workshop Proceedings

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Students may progress slowly or even abandon an assigned reading task due to lack of interest which causes boredom, poor reading comprehension which causes discouragement, and disengagement from the reading material. Various studies have reported that these negative academic moods can be mediated through having meaningful conversations during reading. While interventions such as collaborative reading have been proposed to foster reading motivation in the classroom, very few studies have considered the application of conversational agents as storytelling peers that can scaffold collaborative learning through discussion of the story with the student. In this paper, we describe our conversational agent that can plan various dialogue moves through story content elaboration and exchange of ideas to address motivational factors that hinder the performance of a required reading task. Evaluation of the agent’s performance, humanity and affect showed that a child’s interest in the conversation and engagement in the story greatly affect his/her response towards the agent. While no positive effect was observed on uninterested and disengaged users, the agent was able to fill-in the knowledge gaps of the interested and engaged users by allowing them to make sense of the texts on their own, thus showing the agent’s potential for motivating as well as addressing the reading comprehension issues of children. © 2018 Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education..All Rights Reserved.



Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Computer Sciences | Software Engineering


Intelligent agents (Computer software); Reading comprehension

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