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Kids Connect With Robot Reading Partners

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The Minnie robot with some of her books.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a robot as a reading partner for middle school students.

Credit: Michaelis and Mutlu

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have developed a robot to serve as a reading partner for middle school students.

They say the students grew more excited about books and more drawn to the robot, called Minnie, over two weeks of reading together.

Prior research shows social learning can help students develop skills and interests because it improves their comprehension by distributing the cognitive workload and reinforcing understanding through dialogue. The student-robot reading program included 25 books representing a range of reading skills and story complexity. Participants read aloud to Minnie, which tracked their progress in the book and reacted to the story with one of hundreds of preprogrammed comments. The researchers say Minnie could be used to spur otherwise reluctant students on all kinds of academic tasks, and they have started testing a version of the robot that shares in science studies.

From "Kids Connect With Robot Reading Partners"

UW-Madison News (08/22/18) Chris Barncard

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