Bimodal reading: Benefits of a talking computer for average and less skilled readers

Julie Montali, Lawrence Lewandowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Studies have shown that when information is presented through visual and auditory channels simultaneously (i.e., bimodal presentation), speed of processing and memory recall are enhanced. The present study demonstrated the efficacy of a bimodal approach to fostering reading comprehension. Eighteen average readers (9 girls and 9 boys) and 18 less skilled readers (8 girls and 10 boys) in Grades 8 and 9 participated in the study. Students were presented with social studies and science passages via a computer. Passages were presented in three conditions: visually (on screen), auditorily (read by digitized voice), and bimodally (on screen, highlighted, while being voiced). Following each passage, students answered 10 oral-response, short-answer comprehension questions. Results indicated that less skilled readers comprehended more with bimodal versus unimodal presentations. Overall, their performance in the bimodal condition was commensurate with average readers' comprehension in the visual condition. For less skilled readers, an increase in word recognition from pre- to posttesting on word lists was found across conditions. In addition, results of a brief consumer satisfaction survey suggested that low-skilled readers felt most successful in terms of their comprehension when passages were presented bimodally. Several clinical issues involved in presenting information bimodally using computers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of learning disabilities
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • General Health Professions


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