TaleMate: a reading platform for parents and children

TaleMate: a reading platform for parents and children

Early development of reading habits significantly influences a child’s cognitive and linguistic growth. Shared reading—practices involving a child and a caregiver—is essential in bolstering vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking. Traditional joint reading sessions with printed books often involve the adult reading all dialogues in a single voice and pace, which can be monotonous and cognitively demanding for parents. With the advent of digital technologies, the landscape of traditional reading has evolved, bringing new modalities like audiobooks or e-books with voice narration. These digital resources offer numerous benefits, including auditory cues and multimedia effects that can emulate the positive impact of traditional reading. However, these linear systems do not easily integrate parents into the reading experience, leading to the potential decrease in parent-child interaction observed when digital tools are used. Recently, we have witnessed many HCI works that involve conversational agents (CAs) as reading partners as an alternative, offering a new genre of conversation and stimulating interactive questions during reading. To overcome the limitations of linear audiobook reading, our system enables parents and children to play roles in the book, thereby fostering joint reading and mitigating the disconnection that audiobooks may induce.

To understand the human-VA collaboration in parent-child reading, we developed TaleMate as an instrument to probe the concept and use it as a tool for us to identify design implications and parents’ and children’s perceptions towards this new mode of interactions.

Let’s Read with TaleMate!

We are recruiting 3- to 6-year-old children and their parents for a study on storybook reading with conversational AI agents. Details are below. Please share this with anyone interested!

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