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IES Grant

Title: Developing Electronic-Books to Build Elementary Students' Word Knowledge, Comprehension Monitoring, and Reading Comprehension
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Connor, Carol M. Awardee: University of California, Irvine
Program: Education Technology      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2017-06/30/2021) Award Amount: $1,400,000
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A170163

Co-Principal Investigator: Danielle McNamara: Arizona State University

Purpose: In this project, researchers will develop and test a series of digital books that embed strategies to improve word knowledge, comprehension monitoring, metacognitive skills, and overall reading comprehension for students in grades 3 to 5. While Kindles, iBooks, tablets, and electronic-books have become ubiquitous and offer affordances and have strong potential to improve readers' understanding, little content has been developed specifically for educational settings and few technologies provide adaptive supports to improve reading.

Project Activities: The researchers will iteratively develop and evaluate a set of electronic-books ("e-book") designed to help students gain a deeper and more integrated understanding.

Products: Researchers will produce a fully developed set of Word Knowledge e-books (WKe-Book) for elementary school students. In addition, researchers will produce peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in a lower-income urban elementary schools in Arizona and California, with student populations that are approximately 70% Hispanic, 25% English Learner, and 60% who qualify for the National School Lunch Program.

Sample: The research will include 15 teachers (4-5 teachers per grade), per year, with schools in California and Arizona, and approximately 400 students per year.

Intervention: The WKe-Books will use a choose-your-own adventure format with challenging vocabulary (e.g., cognizant), as well as comprehension monitoring pages that will incorporate three strategies: word learning, deep-level question generation, and summarization across three genres: fiction, social studies, and science.

Research Design and Methods: To develop the four WKe-Books, the researchers will use a design-based implementation research (DBIR) procedure whereby iterations of research and development will occur until feasibility, usability, and learning aims are met. After development is complete, the researchers will use a randomized control trial (RCT) to examine whether WKe-Books shows promise for improving students' word learning and comprehension monitoring. The researchers will use a delayed treatment design with classrooms randomly assigned to implement the WKe-Books immediately or later. During the pilot study, the team will also examine the feasibility of teacher implementation of the Book Clubs, and usability of WKe-Books by students. In the final year of the study, the researchers will complete analyses, dissemination, and materials.

Control Condition: The delayed treatment condition will receive business-as-usual instruction in the first phase of the pilot RCT when the immediate treatment condition students are reading the WKe-Books.

Key Measures: Researchers will gather data using a combination of researcher-developed assessments, standardized assessments, eye movement tasks, content knowledge assessments, and data from the student-user logs to monitor achievement of development aims in the DBIR studies. In the pilot RCT study, the researchers will use standardized reading assessments, including the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, the Pair Cancellation Test; and the Academic Knowledge Test, as well as researcher-developed measures.

Data Analytic Strategies: The DBIR studies will rely on mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative analyses including analysis of transcripts, general linear modeling, and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). The pilot RCT will use HLM to assess differences between treatment and control classrooms. The researchers will use the student-user log data from the WKe-Books (in DBIR and pilot RCT) in combination with various data mining techniques to examine variations in the ways students interact and learn within the WKe-Book. The researchers will use structural equation modeling to test a simple version of the logic model.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Connor, C.M. (2019). Using Technology and Assessment to Personalize Instruction: Preventing Reading Problems. Prevention Science, 20(1), 89-99.

Connor, C.M., Day, S.L., Zargar, E., Wood, T.S., Taylor, K.S., Jones, M.R., and Hwang, J.K. (2019). Building Word Knowledge, Learning Strategies, and Metacognition With the Word-Knowledge e-Book. Computers & Education, 128, 284-311.

Connor, C.M., Phillips, B M., Kim, Y.S.G., Lonigan, C.J., Kaschak, M.P., Crowe, E., ... and Al Otaiba, S. (2018). Examining the Efficacy of Targeted Component Interventions on Language and Literacy for Third and Fourth Graders who are at Risk of Comprehension Difficulties. Scientific Studies of Reading, 22(6), 462-484.

Zargar, E., Adams, A.M., & Connor, C.M. (2019). The Relations Between Children's Comprehension Monitoring and Their Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Knowledge: An Eye-Movement Study. Reading and Writing, 1-35.