Are Reading Robots the Future of Literacy for Kids?

Advertisement

Trending Now


Advertisement

Convincing reluctant readers that story time can be fun is challenging, but it can be a lot easier when you have robots to help. A new study highlights the benefits of robots teaching kids how to read.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a robot named Minnie to help kids learn how to read. The study—which introduced Minnie to middle school students as a reading buddy—made kids much more enthusiastic about reading over a two-week period.

photo: StockSnap via Pixabay

“After one interaction, the kids were generally telling us that, sure, it was nice to have someone to read with,” says Joseph Michaelis, a UW-Madison graduate student studying educational psychology. “But by the end of two weeks, they’re talking about how the robot was funny and silly and afraid, and how they’d come home looking forward to seeing it again.”

According to Science Daily, previous research has shown that kids learn better with buddies. Social learning, which pairs students together to read or complete assignments, has been proven to improve academic skills and boost students’ interest in learning. As Michaelis explains, many students think of reading as an isolating activity which can make them lose interest and make it harder for some students to learn.

For the study, the students spent two weeks reading out loud to Minnie from a selection of 25 different books. Minnie would track the students progress and respond to their reading and the plot of the story with hundreds of pre-recorded comments. Minnie was also able to recommend books to the kids based on an algorithm. Over the course of the study the kids’ motivation to read increased significantly and most reported that they understood and remembered more about the reading.

Photo: Rawpixel via Unsplash

“This idea is in its infancy. But now we know if you really, carefully design this, it can actually sustain interaction and heighten kids’ emotional experience with reading,” study co-author Bilge Mutlu says. “That’s a huge achievement.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

RELATED STORIES:

This Boy Delivers an Incredible Speech about Why Reading Rocks—& He’s Only 4

6 Clever Ways to Encourage Reading You Haven’t Thought Of

This Couple Made a Harry Potter Reading Room in Their Home & It’s Stunning

Welcome to our Tinybeans family!
Be sure to check your email for new activities, recipes and parenting hacks – and to see if you’ve won!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FALL FOR TINYBEANS!

Enter to Win a $250 Gift Card!

Enter your email and zip code below for a chance to win a Mastercard Gift Card. We’ll pick one winner per month through October 31, 2022 – 7 lucky winners in all!

I agree to the official rules and to receive email communications from Tinybeans. By providing my email address, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.