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Big Deta Helps Picking the Right Level of Books

Every teachers and parents hope kids can enjoy reading, but sometimes they just can’t digest the context and put the books aside. It’s likely that the books are too hard for the child to understand. Prof. Sung Yao Ting developed a SmartReading system that tells you the difficulty of the book automatically and you can know the reading comprehension level of a student in short time. The system has been taken into application by 30 junior and elementary schools and has been introduced to Hong Kong and Indonesia.

When publishers decided the level of their books, they do so according to what professionals said so it’s hard to tell whether the structure of the article is beyond the comprehensive level of a child. Sometimes the words or ideas are too hard to make any meaning to them, so they need to keep guessing while reading. That’s why the parents would read the books with them, because it’s too difficult for a kid. If the child can understand the book on their own, they can cultivate the habit of self-study. The will feel accomplished and their motivation to read was boosted.

The team of Prof. Sung Yao Ting has developed the Chinese Readability Index Explorer, CRIE, it’s a readability analysis system that combines psychology, linguistics, natural language processing and machine learning algorithms. Composed of four subsystems and incorporating 82 multilevel linguistic features, CRIE is able to conduct the major tasks of segmentation, syntactic parsing, and feature extraction. Furthermore, the integration of linguistic features with machine learning models enables CRIE to provide leveling and diagnostic information for texts in language arts, texts for learning Chinese as a foreign language, and texts with domain knowledge.

Well-designed text is the key to find out the difficulty of learning. To measure the reading ability of a student, traditionally you have to make the student read lots of reading test. However, if the students are tired after reading too much articles, the credibility of the test is not high. Prof. Sung Yao Ting’s team developed a Diagnostic Assessment of Chinese Competence, DACC, which is a computerized adaptive testing that has the advantages of moderate length of test with precise results. SmartReading has been used in campus over Taiwan and some places abroad. With the selective function of recommending reading, we hope that it would help improve the reading quality of children and they could enjoy the fun of reading.