The Development of a Web-based Reading System

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  • Title: The Development of a Web-based Reading System: A Targeted Approach to Teaching English Reading and Speech
  • Author(s): Greg Raver-Lampman
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Technology, Knowledge & Society
  • Journal Title: Journal of Technologies in Society
  • Keywords: Reading Difficulties, Thought Groups, Individualized Instruction
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2016
  • ISSN: 2381-9251 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2381-9294 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Raver-Lampman, Greg. 2016. "The Development of a Web-based Reading System: A Targeted Approach to Teaching English Reading and Speech." Journal of Technologies in Society 12 (2): 1-7. doi:10.18848/2381-9251/CGP/v12i02/1-7.
  • Extent: 7 pages


It has long been established that the majority of students of English as a Second Language (ESL) are word-by-word readers, meaning they read one word at a time. This not only decreases reading speed but also makes it impossible to comprehend complex sentences. A way to increase reading comprehension and speed is to present text in individual phrases or "thought groups," chunks of meaning that form sentences. This presentation demonstrates Web-based software developed by Old Dominion University’s English Language Center that breaks any text – a speech by Obama, an interesting blog post – into thought groups. It can then present them dynamically at increasing speeds, boosting both reading speed and comprehension. This feature can also help students master phrase-based English intonation patterns, improving intelligibility. In addition, individual parts of speech can be toggled to display in various colors, making all verbs in red, for instance. Using this feature, it can strip out parts of speech to create self-grading worksheets, allowing instruction to be customized to an individual student’s needs and interests. While developed for ESL students, the software can be used in primary school settings or to help struggling readers whose problems stem from the inability to identify phrase boundaries.