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  48. Prompt Engineering for Teachers Using Generative AI: Brainstorming Activities and Resources
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  51. Using AI-Powered Chatbot for Reading Comprehension
  52. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Cognitive Load
  53. Apple Intelligence: How Apple’s AI for the Rest of Us Will Impact Special Education Personnel Preparation
Person reading on a kindle

Using AI-Powered Chatbot for Reading Comprehension

Authors: Yerin Seung; info@ciddl.org

Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills for academic success in this contemporary information-driven society. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, many students struggle with understanding texts with increased complexity. Supporting struggling readers has long been a challenge in educational settings. These students often require personalized attention, which can be difficult to provide in classrooms with many students. However, advances in artificial intelligence (AI), particularly chatbots, offer promising new ways to meet these needs. This blog post explores how AI-powered chatbots can be integrated into learning environments to improve reading comprehension for struggling readers.

Understanding the Needs of Struggling Readers

A "struggling reader" typically refers to a student who faces difficulties understanding and processing written language, which can stem from various cognitive, linguistic, or learning disabilities. These students can struggle with decoding words, fluency, vocabulary, or comprehending complex texts. Reading comprehension skills are also influenced by factors such as executive function, background knowledge, and socio-emotional factors. For lower elementary students, decoding and fluency are known as critical factors. However, upper elementary to secondary students with relatively accurate decoding and fluency skills can also struggle with reading because of the complexity of texts and complex words. As all students have different reading profiles, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to address students’ diverse challenges. Therefore, more personalized and adaptive learning tools are needed.

What Are AI-Powered Chatbots?

AI-powered chatbots are sophisticated software programs that simulate conversations with users using natural language processing and machine learning. These bots can understand and respond to user input, providing a dynamic learning tool for students. Chatbots can assist with various activities in educational settings, from tutoring and answering questions to facilitating interactive reading exercises.

Benefits of Using Chatbots for Reading Comprehension

Using chatbots for reading comprehension has several benefits, including interactive engagement, immediate feedback, personalization, and 24/7 availability.

Interactive Engagement: Chatbots make learning interactive, encouraging students to participate actively in their reading assignments. This can help improve their engagement and retention of information.

Personalization: Students can ask the chatbot for support tailored to their needs. Chatbots can adjust the complexity of the text and the nature of questions based on the student’s performance, providing a truly personalized learning experience.

Immediate Feedback: One of the most significant advantages of using chatbots is their ability to provide immediate feedback. Students can get instant clarification on words or concepts they don't understand, which is crucial for building reading skills.

24/7 Availability: Unlike human tutors, chatbots are available at any time. This allows students to learn at their own pace and schedule, potentially reducing anxiety and building confidence. Chatbots can provide support during class, after class, for assignments, or even when students read for fun!

So, How Do We Use Chatbots to Support Reading Comprehension?

Integrating chatbots into reading programs requires careful planning and consideration. Educators should identify the most suitable chatbot technology that aligns with their curriculum needs. To enhance accessibility, it is possible to use pre-made tools such as ReadTrellis, which answers any questions students have about texts, speech-to-text, and text-to-speech. Building our chatbots with tools such as Google Dialogflow is also a great idea if we want to train AI about specific texts and reading comprehension methods.

Training for teachers and students is also crucial, as they must understand how to integrate chatbots into teaching and learning effectively. Before reading, students can talk about their prior knowledge to activate background knowledge. During reading, they can ask words they don’t know or talk about text structures, inferences, and predictions to get feedback from chatbots. After reading, students can summarize texts, compare them with how AI did, and have ongoing conversations about their thoughts and insights about the texts they read.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite their benefits, chatbots are not without challenges. Privacy and data security are major concerns, as is ensuring that the AI does not reinforce biases. Additionally, chatbots might struggle with non-standard inputs such as slang or dialects, potentially confusing students. Addressing these issues is crucial for successful implementation. The future of AI chatbots in education looks promising. Ongoing improvements in AI technology could lead to more nuanced and sophisticated chatbot tutors capable of providing even more personalized support. Additionally, as more schools adopt this technology, more data will become available to help refine and improve chatbot interactions.

Conclusion

AI-powered chatbots hold significant potential for transforming reading instruction and support for struggling readers. By providing personalized, interactive, and accessible learning experiences, chatbots can play a crucial role in educational settings. Educators and technology integrators should consider exploring the possibilities of this technology, pushing for further innovation and research in this area.

Keep the Conversation Going

Have you used chatbots to support your own reading? Have you adopted chatbots to help your students read? Try out and share your experiences in our community!