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ReadLet: Reading to unterstand. An ICT-driven, large-scale investigation of early grade children's reading stratiegies

Acronimo ReadLet

Abstract Understanding a text is one of the most relevant skills in our daily life. It is involved in all school abilities as well as a variety of everyday activities, from reading for pleasure to simply reading the instructions for use of a toy or a domestic device. Children with typical education can master their reading skills in a few years with astonishing accuracy. Nonetheless, Italian secondary school students often lag behind in reading literacy, i.e. in the ability to understand, use, and reflect on written texts. This is in line with evidence that higher education students with early reading problems continue to have specific problems with reading comprehension, which become a serious learning issue because of the much higher study load. Assessing reading skills is a time-consuming task, which requires monitoring a variety of interlocked abilities, ranging from accurate word rendering, reading fluency and lexical access, to linguistic comprehension, and interpretation, management and inference of complex events in working memory. A plethora of assistive tools for poor readers are nowadays commercially available, but no existing software, to our knowledge, is able to cover and integrate performance monitoring, instant feedback, personalized potentiation and intelligent decision support to teachers and speech therapists, assessment of response to intervention. The ReadLet project intends to use and validate portable ICT technology and cloud computing to collect, time-align, integrate and analyse large collections of multimodal data of children reading connected texts at home or in the classroom. A ubiquitous ICT infrastructure will be put in place, with an ordinary tablet as terminal equipment. The tablet will be used by early grade children in their classroom to read a small connected text displayed on the tablet touchscreen, either silently or aloud, while sliding their finger across the words as they read. After text reading is completed, the tablet prompts a few multiple-answer questions about text content one at a time, as the text remains displayed on the screen, for the child to check. In the process, the tablet automatically keeps track of large streams of time-aligned data: voice recording, time-stamped finger touch events, time of reading, time of question answering, and number of correct answers. Data are stored and processed remotely by a cloud-based service, which analyses data automatically to produce a detailed quantitative signature of the reading session. Text reading data will be collected across different age groups, socio-economic groups and geographical areas. Such data variety and quantity will permit in-depth investigation of cross-sectional and developmental patterns, individual and population analysis, comparative assessment of children with reading problems and controls, clinical validation of screening protocols, and statistical data modelling coupled with advanced computer simulations. Low-cost, user friendliness, commercial availability and minimal invasiveness of the proposed technology will facilitate its extensive adoption in naturalistic conditions for large scale data elicitation. We expect project results to advance our understanding of reading, as well as provide concrete means for implementing protocols to accurately monitor reading literacy progress, and tools for more personalised educational and clinical assistance. While technology cannot and should not supplant the role and professional judgement of teachers and practitioners in helping children with reading difficulties and specific learning disorders, ReadLet tools, data analyses and computer models will effectively support daily decisions and education/intervention management, and make a measurable, evidence-based impact on reading literacy in Italy. This technology will help teachers provide targeted support and timely potentiation at school, and therapists focus on at-risk cases only.

Enti SUPSI coinvolti Centro di didattica dell'italiano e delle lingue nella scuola

Responsabili Sara Giulivi

Data di inizio progetto 1 settembre 2019

Data di chiusura progetto 31 agosto 2022


Allegati allegato_al_progetto 2020_poster_ricerca_ReadLet (in italiano)