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Friday, August 14 • 1:25pm - 1:50pm
Monitoring Extensive Reading Using Mobile Phones

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Extensive reading programs aim to increase students' reading automaticity through processing large quantities of text, requiring that students read books that are interesting and of appropriate difficulty. Monitoring of extensive reading often includes quizzes, book reports, and word counts. However, these may result in intensive reading, reducing long-term motivation.

Supported by a research grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Kakenhi grant #25370643), the presenters developed an extensive reading module for an open-source audience response system. Students report which books they have read, and rate the books' difficulty and interest level. Teachers can access summaries of the number of books each student has read and the popularity ratings of books. The system also provides research data formatted for Rasch analysis, providing measures of the reading level of individual students and difficulty of books.

Interim data from 509 students and 792 books returned reliability coefficients of .96 for student reading level and .92 for book difficulty, sufficient to inform text recommendations and future purchasing decisions. The major research questions of the project concern text features that contribute to book difficulty. Interim results from analysis of 95 books found sentence length to be the best predictor of book difficulty, accounting for 29% of variance. Surprisingly, Lexile measures, which combine both vocabulary frequency and sentence length, accounted for only 23% of variance, suggesting that vocabulary frequency derived from an L2 reader corpus may be preferable to the native speaker corpus used to generate Lexile measures. The low amount of variance explained suggests that student ratings of book difficulty may provide better information for purchasing decisions than readability estimates based on textual analysis. Definitive results expected in April 2015 will include text analysis of 350 popular books.


J. W. Lake

Fukuoka Jogakuin University
avatar for William R. Pellowe

William R. Pellowe

Kinki University Fukuoka

Friday August 14, 2015 1:25pm - 1:50pm EDT
William James B1 33 Kirkland St Cambridge, MA