Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Investigation of Reading Rate Patterns and Retrieval Outcomes of Elementary School Students with E-Books

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Investigation of Reading Rate Patterns and Retrieval Outcomes of Elementary School Students with E-Books

Article excerpt


As e-books on various electronic reading devices are currently transforming the way people read, a number of researchers have investigated how to exploit this new technology for educational purposes (Bierman, Ortega, & Rupp-Serrano, 2010; Grimshaw, Dungworth, McKnight, & Morris, 2007; Woody, Daniel, & Baker, 2010). Several studies have demonstrated that the capability of e-books to incorporate audio-visual materials is able to provide ondemand multimedia materials to support personalized reading (e.g., de Jong & Bus, 2004; Grimshaw et al., 2007; Korat & Shamir, 2007, 2008). For example, Wood (2005) reported that the use of a computer-based storybook was associated with gains in rhyme detection ability among beginning readers.

However, some studies found that both teachers and students still prefer using printed books (Bierman et al., 2010; Woody et al., 2010), and this echoes the view of Coyle (2008) that the e-book industry is currently more focused on how to render the printed books electronically, rather than developing and using new technologies that actually facilitate reading. Woody et al. (2010) suggested that the designers of e-books should consider how to develop them for optimal use, and thus they need to further explore the various user experiences that occur when reading e-books. This is especially true with regard to children, who seem to prefer screen-based reading and are generally very capable at using digital devices (Huang, Liang, Su, & Chen, 2012; Liu, 2005). Despite the many studies that examine the e-book reading of undergraduate students, little effort has been made to explore children's use of e-books (Salmeron & Garcia, 2011), including the related reading traits, reading preferences and cognitive processes. It is thus necessary to conduct more intensive studies with regard to the use of e-books with children in educational contexts.

Reading patterns are a major criterion for assessing a student's overall reading situation, and may be linked to specific cognitive processes and reading outcomes (Cole et al., 2011). In practice, if a student is frustrated when reading, some form of encouraging stimulation or adaptive guidance should be introduced at that point. However, observing and understanding an individual student's reading patterns is difficult in a traditional classroom, where such adaptive learning guidance needs to rely on the teacher's professional judgment, based on their pedagogical knowledge and experience.

Since reading is carried out using the eyes, several studies (Erickson et al., 2011; Jukka, 2010; Liu & Shen, 2011; Marisa, 2011; van Gog & Scheiter, 2010) use eye-tracking techniques to record the location of a reader's gaze and the fixation duration to examine how information is acquired from texts (Cole et al., 2011). For example, Nielsen (2006) identified an F-shaped reading pattern by analyzing the users' eye-tracking data when reading web content. Cole et al. (2011) also adopted this technique to undertake an investigation of the eye movement reading patterns that occurred during information search tasks. Unfortunately, such techniques cannot be applied to ordinary classroom practice, and an alternative approach is to use an e-book reading platform along with an efficient analysis procedure, as this can provide a low cost and relatively unobtrusive way to examine the reading processes of individual students (Huang et al., 2012).

Many studies (Carver, 1990; Duggan & Payne, 2009; Dyson & Haselgrove, 2000; Fraser, 2007; McLay, 2007; Rasinski, 2000; Stroud & Henderson, 1943) state that the reading rate (the words read per minute, wpm) is a useful indicator that reflects an individual's cognitive processing of an incoming text. For example, Fraser (2007) compared the reading rate and performance of two groups of Mandarin speakers as they carried out five tasks, and found that the varied substantial differences in the reading rates existed between the groups for all tasks. …

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