Dr. Kenneth Reeder



The Vancouver Reading Tutor Project

This joint project, undertaken in collaboration with the Vancouver School Board and Project LISTEN at the Institute of Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, provides young English Language learners with a computer program, The Reading Tutor, that “listens” to them read stories, and which offers help when the reader experiences difficulty with the text. Children in grades 1-7 participated, and their home languages included Spanish, Hindi-Urdu, Cantonese, and Mandarin, with English native speakers included as comparison groups. No particular home language group was found to have a particular advantage in terms of reading gains, and we found that children with beginning English proficiency made larger gains in reading comprehension and fluency compared with children whose proficiency was at a higher level, and with native English speaking groups. A study that compared the automated tutoring to an equivalent human tutoring program yielded equivalent reading gains for the two groups, and a comparison of the automated tutoring with classroom instruction over the course of a school year demonstrated a slight advantage in reading fluency gains when children were experiencing the automated tutoring. Multiple clinical interviews with all participants throughout the year-long study following both the Reading Tutor experience and regular classroom experience showed positive gains in attitudes toward reading, views of self as a reader, and a positive view of the Reading Tutor experience overall.   Supported by the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada, and the Hamber Foundation.   View CTV National News story on the Vancouver Reading Tutor project (3.5 minutes).

Cultura: An Online Intercultural Exchange Between Japanese and Canadian Undergraduate Students

(September 07 – August 09). Supported by the UBC-Ritsumeikan Academic Exchange Program. Co-investigator: Kazunori Nozawa ( Ritsumeikan University) and Richard Berwick, (Asia Pacific University).

The Learning Engine ESL Software Development Project

This joint university-industry project has undertaken research and development for a prototype multimedia program entitled “Edubba.” A study of this prototype was completed on the nature of users’ collaboration in academic writing and found four distinct styles of writing collaboration using the technology. The prototype was revised for release to the BC public schools in late 1999. Supported by the Ministry of Education, Province of British Columbia and Lunny Communications, Vancouver.

L’Ecole Jules Quesnel Intermediate 80% French Assessment

In collaboration with VSB administrator and LANE graduate students Jennifer Buntain and Mitsunori Takakuwa, this 3-year study assessed the impact of changing an intermediate French Immersion program from 50% French to 80% French provision. French and English oral and literate skills are assessed, along with students’ attitudes and metapragmatic knowledge. Supported by the UBC Hampton Fund.

Selected Publications

Reeder, Kenneth. 2010. “Edubba: Real-world Writing Tasks in a Virtual World”. Task-Based Language Teaching and Technology.. Ed. Michael Thomas and Hayo Reinders. London and New York: Continuum, pp. 1 – 22.

Reeder, K, J Shapiro, J. Wakefield and R. D’Silva. 2009. “A Computer Based Reading Tutor for Young English Language Learners: Recent Research on Proficiency Gains and Affective Response.” Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Reading. Braga, Portugal.

Reeder, Kenneth, Kazunori Nozawa and Richard Berwick. 2009.  “An online intercultural exchange in a postcultural world.”. Proceedings Editors: Thomas, Michael. Proceedings of the 2008 JALT CALL Conference. Japanese Association of Language Teachers. Nagoya, Japan. Pp. 89 – 97. JALT CALL SIG & Panurgic Publishing. Nagoya, Japan.

Reeder, K., Shapiro, J., Early, M., Kendrick, M., & Wakefield, J. (2008). Listening to diverse learners: The effectiveness and appropriateness of a computer-based reading tutor for young Canadian language learners. In F. Zhang & B. Barber (Eds.). Handbook of research on computer-enhanced language learning. Hershey, PA: IGI.

D’Silva, R., & Reeder, K. (2008). Research oriented faculty members & course management systems: Issues in adoption, use & support of educational technologies. In R. Kobayashi (Ed.). New Educational Technology. Nova Press,

Shapiro, J., Wakefield, J., & Reeder, K. (2007). Effects of a computer-based reading tutor on the attitudes and views of multilingual young readers. The International Journal of the Book. 5(1), 25-32.

Reeder, K., Shapiro, J., & Wakefield, J. (2007). The effectiveness of speech recognition technology in promoting reading proficiency and attitudes for Canadian immigrant children. Proceedings Editors: Valtin, Renate. Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Reading. European Conference on Reading. Berlin, Germany. Aug., 2007. IDEC: Literacy Europe. http://www.literacyeurope.org/IDEC/. Berlin, Germany.

Reeder, K., Shapiro, J., Early, M., Kendrick, M., & Wakefield, J. (2005). The role of L1 in young multilingual readers’ success with a computer-based reading tutor. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Bilingualism (2006). Fifth International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB5). Barcelona, Spain. Mar., 2005.

D’Silva, R., & Reeder, K. (2005). Factors that influence faculty members’ uptake and use of course management systems. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(6), 1071-1073.