Reading comprehension, a dynamic process in which active readers use the information gained from both the text and from prior knowledge in order to construct meaning, is an important goal of education. However, to develop competent readers, schools must first provide ways to motivate their students to start and to continue reading.
Studies have shown that multimedia instruction is a particularly motivating instructional strategy. One example of multimedia instructional technology is the electronic talking book, which comes packaged in CD-ROMs. Research indicates that children gain much from the interactive features of talking book software. It offers stories that appeal to students across ages, leading to an engaging and motivating reading experience.
This practicum paper proposes a module that creates and utilizes an original electronic CD-ROM talking book as a means of improving the reading comprehension and motivation of primary grade students in a private sectarian school. It bases its multimedia design principles on Mayer's Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, which states that: (a) there are two separate channels that humans use to process visual and auditory information; (b) each information processing channel is limited in its ability to process experience/information; and (c) learning becomes active and meaningful when a learner selects salient pieces of information, organizes this into a coherent mental representation, and integrates the representations with other prior knowledge.
The reading skills utilized by the student in the electronic book include noting important details, making logical inferences, and drawing conclusions about the story. The student is also expected to identify the main idea of a selected text and to show a sufficient level of mastery of the comprehension skills required at his/her grade level. This shall be measured through the drills and challenges that come within the electronic book. A teacher's manual and evaluation forms are also included in the module.