The project will focus on two delivery mechanisms for reading, an e-reader and e-books.

New interactive e-books (picture books) will be developed with visual stimuli, i.e. images with hot spots triggering the pronunciation and written form of a word. This will help students learning English as a foreign language to acquire new vocabulary. When the student reaches the end of the e-book, they will encounter lightweight learning activities that practice their newly acquired skills. Whilst e-books will practice the same skills as games, by offering interactive exploration of visual scenes and objects they will also support the student’s growth in vocabulary and enhance general comprehension.

The e-Reader app will be based on research undertaken in FP7 Funded iLearnRW project and Innovate UK SafeReads. The e-Reader app will be designed to benefit students’ learning in different ways. For students with dyslexia and English as a foreign language, text-to-speech capabilities will provide students with the much-needed exposure to age-appropriate vocabulary and pronunciation. The e-Reader app will ensure the transferability of skills practised in the games to real books and texts. It will  offer on demand access to word level strategies that will support the process of decoding and comprehension. The e-Reader app will also offer instructional task-specific strategies for a much wider range of reading purposes (e.g. ‘reading for information’, ‘reading to critique texts’ or ‘reading to learn’) used in educational activities across subjects, thereby widening the usefulness of this tool.

iRead will integrate three distinct learning apps (games, e-reader app, e-books) designed to reinforce the same literacy skills in different ways and offer unique opportunities to support the development of differentiated skills. A model of the student that personalises and adapts learning across apps will provide an integrative learning experience. Designed learning trajectories will also support a connected pedagogy across apps that will be managed through digital teacher tools for formative assessment.

Link with industry: The outcomes of this activity will inform Dolphin’s EasyReader app, and the design of the e-book service for Pick a Tale and Patakis.