Is there a Doctor in the House?

Literature Review Problem Statement

Posted on: July 17, 2009

This paper will summarize my inquiry into literature on the potential of leveraging current digital technology, such as e-text, to assist students with reading difficulty in aquiring more meaningful access to the curriculum by supporting comprehension and extending meaningful learning through embedded supports.


11 Responses to "Literature Review Problem Statement"

How would you clarify by what you mean by “meaningful”?


PS. I am one of those kids with reading difficulties. There was nothing for me when I was growing up. Very interesting research.

By meaningful I mean that not all their brain power and energy is used up with just decoding the words so they actually are getting access to the content of the text.

What do you mean by embedded supports? Do you know what the supports are or will this be explored in the literature?

By embedded supports I mean supports built into the e-text so it has added value above and beyond it’s print based counterpart and leverages some of the capabilities of digital technology. Some supports I am interested in is a built in dictionary of key terms that has a visual representation as well as a written definition that can be read to them if they choose, hyperlinks to background knowledge and useful resources, text to speech with highlighting and the ability for students to pick a voice and alter the speed, concept maps of chapters, a notetaker feature … These are some of the supports I’ve been thinking but hope the literature review will inform my list.

Hi Belina,

I was wondering if you were to be looking at different types of assistive technologies and how to decide when to use different technologies? Would it depend on learning style, their types of intelligence based on Gardner, how far behind they are, the type of subject they are struggling in?


My main interest is in forms of ATL that can help students with reading difficulties access text-based content information so I think the focus will be e-text (digital text that has text-to-speech capabilites etc.). I will not be focusing on how to decide when to use different technologies but am hopeful my research will lead to recommendations on which forms of embedded supports are most beneficial for junior high students. At this time I do not plan to investigate how learning styles and types of intellegence might impact which supports are most beneficial. I don’t really see how far behind they are or the type of sugject they are struggling in being factors in my research. I wear my glasses no matter what I’m reading.

Thanks for getting me thinking with your questions.

As an outsider to Educational tradition, I wondered about the definition of “student”.

Are you planning to narrow this to a specific age range and why?

Over half of my years teaching in the classroom I taught junior high, so these students are near and dear to my heart. Besides that, I have chosen to focus on this age range because they are in classrooms with teachers that expect them to be able to read to learn (instead of being taught how to read). Many of them have had many years of pull-out / remedial interventions throughout their elementary years but still struggle with decoding and reading fluently. They usually avoid reading at all costs! At this point in their lives I think it is improtant to reframe the issue by changing the focus from trying to ‘cure’ them curing / changing the way we present content to them so that the information is more accessible and may also help improve their reading skills without the drill and kill.

Do kids currently love reading?
Would “increased love of reading” be a good measure to assess the effectiveness of your intervention?

I have observed that most if not all of teenagers with reading difficulties no longer love reading and in fact have negative feelings associated with it. Increased love of reading or willingness to engage in reading would be an informative measure.

Your research interests are similar to mine. Will you also be considering once you have access to e-text in the building how a student will gain access in any particular classroom?

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July 2009
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