Education professor receives $1.4 million grant to develop elementary school e-books

Chancellor’s Professor Carol Connor has been awarded a $1.4 million, four-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to develop and test a series of digital books that embed strategies to improve reading ability for students in grades 3 to 5. The project involves designing and evaluating e-books that will help children gain a deeper and more integrated understanding of what they read by improving their word knowledge, understanding and metacognitive skills. “Kindles, iBooks and tablets have strong educational potential, but very little content has been developed specifically for instructional settings,” Connor said. “Using a design-based implementation process, the e-books will offer a ‘choose-your-own’ adventure format with challenging vocabulary and comprehensive monitoring pages that will incorporate word learning, deep-level question generation and summarization across three genres: fiction, social studies and science.” The research is to be conducted in lower-income urban elementary schools in California and Arizona, and will include 15 teachers and approximately 400 students per year. Connor’s co-principal investigator is Danielle McNamara, director, science of learning and education technology lab at Arizona State University.