Essay Writing Service

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Designing an Online Book Club Interface for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

Table of Figures
List of Definitions
The art of storytelling
Reading and People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Problem Statement
Research Questions
Research Aims
Literature Review
Online Reading Interventions for people with Intellectual Disabilities
Book Club Prototype
General Reading Habits
Categories of Books Read
Limitations to Reading
Benefits derived from reading
Being Read to
Survey Results
Participant demographics
Reading Habits
Testing the Prototype- Interview
Read Aloud Function
Visual Storytelling
Book Club Preferences- Survey
Recommended Features
Book Club Prototype
Recommendations for the interface
Read Aloud Function
Visual Storytelling
System Usability Scale
Read Aloud
Reading Frequency
Read Aloud Prototype
Visual Storytelling
Visual Storytelling
Read Aloud
Summary of Story
Recommended Features for online book clubs
Further Research
Interview Questions
Survey Questions


Over the decades the functions and structure of books clubs have expanded with the help of the internet. However, just few online book club platforms are designed to suit members with varying forms of intellectual disabilities. There is a knowledge gap or disconnect in the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and research on the structure of online book clubs. Although there is numerous research on the reading habits of people with intellectual disabilities, they are not linked to online reading clubs. This study sought to find the problems people with intellectual disabilities encounter with reading text in online book clubs and the ways these problems can be solved. Additionally, three new features of an online book club were tested. They are the read aloud, visual story and summary functions. The study was done using both interviews and surveys. Ten participants partook in the interview while 50 did the survey. Out of these, it was noticed that persons with intellectual disabilities wanted improvements to be done on the way the text of books are displayed in an online book club. Participants said the prototype was going to improve their reading habits, although they had specific recommendations such as varying the methods of a visual story. The percentile System Usability Scale (SUS) score for the interviews was 74.3 and 67.6 for the survey, after interacting with the prototype. It was concluded that people with intellectual disabilities found the read aloud and visual story features on the online book clubs useful because it enriched their understanding.

List of Definitions

Intellectual disability, according to WebMD is characterized by below-average intelligence or mental ability and a lack of skills necessary for day-to-day living. A person with intellectual disabilities has limitations in these two areas:

  1. Intellectual Functioning- This refers to where the person’s ability to learn, reason, make decisions, and solve problems are affected.
  2. Adaptive Behaviors- This is where skills necessary for day-to-day life, such as being able to communicate effectively, interact with others, and take care of oneself are affected.

Learning disabilities are neurologically based processing problems which interfere with skills such as reading, writing or math. Some examples of learning disabilities are dyslexia, ADHD, Dyscalculia and dysgraphia.
For the purpose of this study, learning disabilities will be classified as a form of intellectual disabilities.


Book clubs have been in existence for many centuries (Long, 2003). Reading groups for many years has been an American pastime (Daniels, 2002).  This is not surprising since there are numerous benefits gained from book clubs. Kappel (1948) summarized the benefits of book clubs as making books accessible to members of rural and urban areas where libraries are scare by offering current books at a lower fee than regular book stores. They also provide expert advice on reading for readers. Several benefits have been derived from book clubs over centuries. For instance, book clubs do not only benefit readers but also their families because books are shared with others (Censor, 1812). Distefano (2014) in a study of books showed revealed the following benefits:

  • Kids who read more minutes per day have higher scores on tests.
  • At all grade levels, students who talked about what they read with family or friends had higher reading scores than students who did not talk about what they had read.
  • Families that shared in conversations about books showed a drastic improvement in family communication.

However, over the decades the functions and structure of books clubs have expanded with the help of the internet.  With the use of the internet, members of book clubs are not restricted by physical location. Book club meetings held online can be made up of people from different countries. Thousands of book discussion groups are held over the internet (Fister, 2005). Many book clubs are held online.  Examples of book clubs that have spread over the internet are Oprah’s Book Club[1] and Goodreads[2]. Other online platforms such as Tumblr[3] now have online reading communities.  According to Scharber (2009) online book clubs encourage reading by offering a motivating and convenient environment. Additionally, book clubs have been used for many years to facilitate reading. According to Daniels (2002), there are millions of students involved in some form of book club discussion.
Book clubs are mostly open to all and do not have rigid requirements for joining, though some book clubs have age restrictions. For instance, Oprah’s book club requires members to be above 18. Additionally, Goodreads is free for all. There are book clubs designed specified people. For instance, Telephone Book Club is a book club meeting held over the phone for adults with sight loss in the UK. Additionally, the Next Chapter Book Club focuses on people with intellectual disabilities where meetings are held in person.
Although such book clubs are suited towards targeted populations, not much research has been done on the specific needs of the members. Another issue is that certain people with needs do not have books clubs tailored towards their needs. For instance, there is no virtual book club specifically designed to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.
Adults with intellectual disabilities are one the marginalized groups (Umadevi and Sukumaran, 2012). Therefore they are excluded in many forms to technological advancement. Virtual book clubs will be useful for persons with intellectual disabilities because according to Bielecki & Swender (2004), their social skills differ from others. This may have an influence on how they interact with others in person.
The purpose of this paper is to suggest design solutions for creating virtual for people with intellectual disabilities.

The art of storytelling

According to Xu, Park and Baek (2008), storytelling is a unique human experience. Being a unique human experience, storytelling can be used to humans irrespective of the needs or conditions. Storytelling has been used for several purposes. Storytelling has been used to enhance the quality of life of people (Bazan, 2011). They can be used to teach morals and help people understand issues better. Storytelling can be even used to help children with socialization (Cassell and Ryokai 2001).
How storytelling is structured can affect the listeners or readers interest or focus. Storytelling not only has to be logical in order to gain readers interest and understanding but “story is a primarily verbal and communicative activity in which comprehension of the storyline is an important element” (Penn et al., 2012). Since the structure of storytelling plays an important role, it is worth considering how storytelling can be structured to suit readers or listeners with diverse needs.
Storytelling does not necessarily have to be help through physical locations but can be incorporated on digital platforms. Storytelling can be incorporated in online book clubs to arouse interest. This is necessary because people with intellectual disabilities may require special needs to help them engage in certain activities. People with intellectual disabilities may have problems with communication, focus and memory (Lyons and Mundy-Taylor, 2012). Alves and Gottlieb (1986) wrote that people with intellectual disabilities have difficulty communicating because of the pragmatics of conversational discourse. Thereby, making it difficult to sustain interest in reading books or participating in other activities offered by online book clubs.
On the other hand, Lambert (2006) proposes seven strategies for digital storytelling. The seven elements are based on story structure and the use of sound and images in telling the digital story. Likewise, Kadjer (2006) found that digital storytelling helped with envisioning text and visual meaning of text.
Additionally, storytelling on online book clubs can be used to help people with intellectual disabilities participate in book clubs since it serve as a platform for participation and inclusion. Barnes (2005) noted that people with intellectual disabilities are normally excluded from mainstream activities. Using storytelling techniques on online books clubs may encourage involvement of people with intellectual disabilities. Inclusion is needed because person with intellectual disabilities have the same right to happiness and quality of life (Fyson, 2010). Additionally, Goatley (1995) states that programs that foster literacy should focus on the need of diverse learners. Panek (2004) adds that reading platforms can fail if they do not acknowledge the diversity of the members. However, the diversity of the entire population should be considered instead of just the members of the group. This makes is a requirement for the needs of people with intellectual disabilities to be considered on online book clubs.
Making online platforms more user friendly or suitable to the needs of specific groups is not novel. Also, since there is an increase in the number of online book clubs, we propose changes be made to benefit people with special needs. According to Wehmeyer et al., (2010), ways to help people with intellectual problems read must be selected based on scientific evidence of the effectiveness and the needs and circumstances of the learner. In supporting this, Latour (2012) writes that there are mostly boundaries between a user and a device or platform which is required to know. Therefore making it necessary to incorporate the specific needs on people with intellectual disabilities on online reading platforms.
According to Dardress (1995) words and shapes give an aesthetic shape to human experience. Therefore the way words and images are used in telling a story plays an important role on online book clubs. Presenting text and images in a manner that suits book club members may influence their experience. The experience of members with intellect disabilities is significant since they have special needs. This make is useful to study their needs and ways to meet those needs.

Reading and People with Intellectual Disabilities.

The American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities[4] define intellectual disabilities as “a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills.” Some types of intellectual disabilities are Autism, Downs Syndrome, Dyslexia and ADHD.
Persons with intellectual disabilities may have problems with reading. Two types of intellectual disabilities occur in reading[5]. The first is when a person does not understand the relationship between letters, sounds and words. The second refers to problems with reading comprehension. This is characterized by problems with grasping the meaning of words, sentences and paragraphs.
There have been several attempts to enhance reading among people with intellectual disabilities. The development of listening comprehension is an important literary skill for people with intellectual disabilities (Mims et al. 2009). Additionally, they suggest a conceptual model of literacy which incorporates shared literature, read aloud or other means to access text for people who are not independent readers.
Al Otaiba (2004) found that read aloud platforms promote literacy and communication skills in people with intellectual disabilities.  In a study on four middle school students with autism spectrum disorders, Mims et al., (2012) found their reading comprehension was increased through read alouds of biographies.
Technology has been used to help people with intellectual disabilities. However, due to their needs, there are recommendations on how technology can be used to help them. Ayres and colleagues (2013) suggest three ways that technology can be used to assist with independence and life skills for students with moderate to severe disabilities. They are:
• regularly investigate and use technology to remain fluent and up to date with technological innovations,
• record and assess data on students’ use of technology,
• remain knowledgeable about how and why traditional effective interventions for teaching skills to students with severe disabilities work and assess whether the use of technology may be more efficient in teaching skills.
Hua (2014) writes that people who struggle with reading approach reading more passively and focus on reading as a decoding process instead rather than as a process to derive meaning. Studying how persons who struggle with reading is useful because it serves as the basis for designing for them.
Technology is being used to solve the problems persons with intellectual disabilities face when reading online. For instance, the National Center for Accessible Media states that
“accessible electronic books (e-books), digital talking books (DTBs) and on-line, HTML-based textbooks and training materials can bridge the gap that often exists for students or workers who require adapted reading materials.”
They add that if well designed, these tools can not only help users with visual impairments but those with intellectual disabilities. Some of the guidelines stated are:

  1. Provide accessible on-line HTML books. These books should be designed using proper mark up. Additionally, they should include features such as images, forms, multimedia and charts and graphs.
  2. Provide accessible electronic books. Three factors influence if an electronic book will be accessible to all users. They are the content format, the use of accessibility techniques within that format, and the device used to render the material such as text, images and multimedia.

Problem Statement

It is evident that the number of book clubs whether online or not have increased. However, the increase in book clubs does not necessarily reflect an increase in membership and more so increase in the number of members with intellectual disabilities. Online readers clubs should be designed to benefit diverse users. People with intellectual disabilities should be made to enjoy the same benefits people without disabilities enjoy.
There is a knowledge gap or disconnect in the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and research on the structure of online book clubs. This tends to be a problem because not much research or improvements have been done to encourage or maintain members with intellectual disabilities. Although there are numerous researches on the reading habits of people with intellectual disabilities, they are not linked to online reading clubs. Improving the structure of online reading clubs to suit people with intellectual disabilities through researching on their needs will be beneficial not only in designing book clubs but with other online platforms used by people with intellectual disabilities.

Research Questions

The research questions for the study are as follows:
Q1: What are the problems people with intellectual disabilities encounter with reading on online book clubs?
Q2: What changes can be made to online book clubs to accommodate people with intellectual disabilities?
Q3: What features of online book clubs would improve their usability for people with intellectual disabilities?
Q3a: How useful do people with intellectual disabilities find the text to speech feature for online book clubs?
Q3b: How useful do people with intellectual disabilities find the visual storytelling feature for online book clubs?
Q3c: How useful do people with intellectual disabilities find the story summary feature for online book clubs?

Research Aims

The aims that guide this research are:
Aim 1: Identify the current problems on online book clubs encountered by people with intellectual disabilities. It is evident that there number of people with intellect disabilities who participate in online book clubs are few. There are several reason for this problem. One of the reasons is that online book clubs are not tailored to meet their needs. However, there may be other reasons that are unknown. The study seeks to find out the reasons why people with intellectual disabilities who were once part of online book clubs stops as well as the problems they encountered while they were part of the book clubs.
Aim 2: Develop new tools that will help people with intellectual disabilities when reading online. The study presents three modifications – text to speech, story summaries, and a visual story to help people with intellectual problems better understand books they read on online book clubs. The user evaluation of these tools will determine its benefits and ways that they can be implemented to help people with intellectual disabilities.
Aim 3: Propose new design strategies for online book clubs that are user-friendly and inclusive. The design suggestions are user centered and are user friendly. This is unlike the existing online reading platform which is not being used by people with intellectual disabilities because of the problems they encounter. Newer methods are not only needed but they should be user center focused.


This thesis is useful not only in the area of Human Computer Interaction but also in other domains. Three uses of the thesis are discussed below.
Firstly, the thesis presents design solutions that Human Computer Interaction can use to build book clubs suited for persons with intellectual disabilities. Not much research has been into the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in book clubs. The study bring to light the specific needs of people with intellectual disabilities on book clubs. By knowing the needs of people with intellectual disabilities on online book clubs, interventions can be made to better suit them.
Also, the thesis introduces new methods of reading literature on online book clubs. These new methods are significant because most book clubs do not have varying ways of presenting literature for diverse readers. The study seeks for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities on online book clubs by showing newer ways by which literature can be presented. Inclusion of people on online readers clubs is necessary because people should not be limited to join groups because of the physical capabilities.
Finally the thesis advocates for change in the way books are presented online. This does not apply only to online book clubs but online reading platforms as well. The new concepts introduced by the study can serve as a basis for developing reading platforms for people with intellectual disabilities.

Literature Review

A study of research will be completed in order to determine the kinds of virtual educational interventions that help people with disabilities and book clubs aimed at reaching people with disabilities. Knowledge of these two factors will serve as a guideline for creating virtual book clubs for people with disabilities. The literature review seeks to answer these questions: How are reading habits of people with disabilities enhanced online? What role does physical book clubs play on members with disabilities? It will also explore book clubs for people with disabilities and online communities for people with disabilities. The review will incorporate information from field experts, articles, and studies that include accountable talk in book clubs and the impacts it has on comprehension.
There are various ways by which book clubs are called. Some are literacy groups, readers club, text clubs, book circles, literature discussion groups, literature circles, and cooperative book discussion groups.
Long (2003) described the process of book clubs as “conversations [that] allow participants to clarify their own insights and opinions and also to integrate the various perspectives other readers’ bring to the book”. In addition, Barnes (1995) reveals book club meetings consist of informal, exploratory talk. Goatley (1992) focuses on the social and collaborative aspects of book clubs, and describes a book club as a strategy that introduces reading to students in an interactive, social experience. Additionally, Raphael (2001) describes books clubs as a group of individuals that read the same book and then meet to analyze and discuss what they have read.
Daniels (2002) state that book clubs are not spontaneous activities instead each book club is set up to engage the specific age and learning levels of the members. He adds that the structures of book clubs can be framed in a variety of ways that will make them “long-term investments” for learning.  Matlick (2014) points out that “the curriculum of a book club is based on four major topics; Language Conventions, Comprehension, Literacy Elements, and Response to Literature”.
There are numerous ways that book club meetings are held. Generally, book clubs meeting can be done online or in person. For instance, the Next Chapter Book Club strictly holds meetings in person while Oprah’s Book Club has the option for online meetings. Both meeting ways has its own benefits and disadvantages. But Scharber (2009) suggests a merger between both meeting strategies. He states that online book clubs can be offered as one example of how to effectively bridge old and new literacy practices.
The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) is an example of a book club where meetings are not held online and is based on a particular group of people.  NCBC “allows individuals with intellectual disabilities to meet at book stores, libraries and coffee shops and read a book of the groups’ choice.” NCBC has a total of 14 clubs in the Columbus metropolitan area made up of about 100 individuals. The mission of the book club is for the members to feel social connectedness and community inclusion.
NCBC seeks to make people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) have the right to participate and interact as equal members in their communities by utilizing their curiosity. One distinctive feature noted by Reiss (1998) is that curiosity in people with ID has little to do with their IQ. Rather, the curiosity in individuals with ID can be distinguished from the individuals’ actual ability to learn. A study on NCBC by Michalos (2007) showed that individuals with curious or sociable personalities are attracted to NCBC and the NCBC book clubs as currently constituted may be helping to fulfill needs of curious or sociable people with MR/DD.
Given both the advantages and limitations of face-to-face literature circles, researchers today are examining many online literacy practices for complementing classroom reading pedagogy (Larson, 2009). One way to reach people with ID will be through the internet since the majority of people spend time on it. For instance, a report by Common Sense Media shows that teens spend an average of 9 hours daily using media for enjoyment. The internet can be used to build communities where people with ID not only read books but have social interaction and obtain learning opportunities as seen in traditional offline book clubs. Singh (2008) shows how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to decrease the marginalization of the voiceless and to increase their “conscientization” to foster positive emancipatory possibilities.
There are several online sites and apps that aid people with disabilities with reading. For instance, the National Center for Accessible Media website focuses on the technological aspects of e-books and digital talking books (DTB) software and hardware. DTB is defined as a multimedia representation of a print publication that provides access to the text through digitally recorded human voice or synthetic text-to-speech technology. The target of DTB are blind or visually impaired users and persons with intellectual disabilities. Another effort made to help people with disabilities read is the TechMatrix. TechMatrix has features such as text-to-speech capabilities, word prediction, embedded resources (ex. e-dictionary, e-thesaurus, highlighting) customizable views, and differentiation which are learning tools targeted at people with different kinds of intellectual and physical disabilities.
The internet has been used to help develop some book clubs. With books clubs being online, the issue of being restricted to a location is removed. Also, online book clubs can host many audience at a particular time. Online book clubs can be used to foster learning of any specified group because talking about text with their peers helps create more excitement (Matlick, 2014) and people gain an understanding of text by visualizing and talking about it with peers (O’Donnell-Allen, 2006). Online book clubs will allow users with ID to read and use stories as heuristics and explanatory devices for making sense of their worlds in a social, relational and safe context (Kooy, 2006).
It is evident that there are book clubs for people with disabilities and also, there exist learning platforms for people with disabilities. However, currently, there isn’t a union of the two. There are no virtual book clubs aimed at helping people with disabilities. Although book clubs are a unique social learning approach that allows for individuals to engage with content in traditional face-to-face settings and/or virtual environments (Sedo, 2003), not much research has been done on the use of online book clubs to help eliminate disparities such as language barriers or intellectual disabilities. This study seeks to analyze the collaborative features of traditional book clubs and online learning platforms for people with disabilities in order to help with the creation with an online book club for people with disabilities.

Online Reading Interventions for people with Intellectual Disabilities

There have been many interventions to help people with intellectual disabilities with reading and literacy. Some are focused on specified intellectual disabilities while others are for general intellectual disabilities. For instance, PAMIS has a guideline for the way books are presented for persons with intellectual and motor disabilities.  Some of the guidelines given for constructing a multipurpose storytelling book was that the story had to have clear ending and should be presented on whiteboards. In addition, one guideline given for reading multisensory storytelling books was that there shouldn’t be additional text the original story or script.
Multisensory storytelling is used by people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities where sensory experience and social interaction is targeted. Multisensory storytelling was studied by Penn et al., (2012) where staff interaction style was patients with multiple disabilities was studied. To study this, caregivers told one multisensory story to their client once a week over a period of 10 weeks. The results did not reveal a significant interaction between staff interaction style and client characteristics. The findings was confirmed by Brown et al., (1976) children with intellectual disabilities have greater difficulties with communicative interactions that direct the learning process.


This section presents the methods used in the research. It discusses the participants, procedures and interventions. Results for the study was gathered using interviews and surveys. The procedure used in the two methods are presented differently.



A total of 10 participants were interviewed. They were recruited from groups in Indianapolis that took care of people with intellectual disabilities. Due to the sensitive nature of their intellectual disabilities, the specific kind of intellectual disabilities was not asked. The interviews which lasted an average of 12 minutes was audio recorded. Prior to the interview, participants were read the study information sheet.
The interview was done in two sections. The first part of the interview was to find out the general reading habits of participants.
For the second part of the interview, participants were showed the virtual prototype of the book club interface on the laptop to interact with. Participants had to try using the Visual Storytelling, Summary and Read Aloud functions. Participants who had difficulty with using the laptop or holding objects were guided through the process.
The sequence for testing the prototype is given below:

  1. From the genre of books, select Action Book.
  2. Select Action Book, select the book titled The Green Door.
  3. Participants were asked to read through the first page of The Green Door
  4. Afterwards, participants had to click on the Read Aloud Function and listen to the first paragraph of the book.
  5. Participants were required to go through the 20 image Visual Story.
  6. Finally, participants had to read the first paragraph of the Summary.

After interaction with the interface, participants were interviewed on their views on the prototype. They were asked 6 questions on the problems they faced, what they liked and other recommendations on the prototype.
For the second part of the interviews, participants were to answer the System Usability Scale test. The study used the System Usability Scale developed by John Brooke[6]. The test consists of a 10 item questionnaire with five response options for respondents from strongly agree to strongly disagree in a Likert form. Participants verbally stated their answers.


The survey was developed and distributed online. Just like the interview section, the survey had three sections. However, for the survey, the participants viewed the prototype online. After viewing the prototype, they answered questions based on it. The SUS test was administered after the survey.
Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants for the survey. Therefore the survey was distributed using through online social media platforms for people with intellectual disabilities in book clubs. Additionally, the survey was distributed personally to people with intellectual disabilities. On the average, participants spent 11 minutes on the survey.

Book Club Prototype

The prototype was designed in two phases. In the first phase, a paper prototype was used to show the significant features.
For the second stage of designing the prototype, a high fidelity prototype was used. This was done using HTML and CSS. The main features the prototype showed are presented in the images below.
The first screen was to present participants with a list of the different book genres.

Image of Home Screen
The second step was to select a genre of books. After that the participant had to choose between different books under the category of the genre selected.
The next screen that shows is the story. This screen has the Read Aloud, Visual Story and Summary function. The participant flips pages by touching the next button.  Less than 200 words are put on each screen to simulate reading a medium sized book.
Once the read aloud button is pressed, an audio recording of the book begins. A male voice reads the story. Three contrasting colors are used for the read aloud. Words that are read aloud are highlighted. The page scrolls from top to bottom for the read aloud.

Image of Read Aloud Screen
Twenty pictures were used to tell the story. The transition used between images was the fading method. The images had no captions but were numbered at the top left corner.

Image of Visual Story
The summary section was made of a summary of the whole story. The summary was designed to fit unto a page. This was to avoid scrolling or pressing buttons to read the whole story.

Image of the Summary Screen


The results section is divided into three sections. The first section is based on interviews and the second section is based on the online survey. The final section are the results of the SUS test given to both groups. The general reading habits for the interviews and survey section will be presented differently.


The highest age out of the 10 participants was 73 whiles the least was 43. Eight males and 2 females took part in the interview. Participants were not asked the kind of Intellectual Disability they faced because of the sensitive nature of sharing such information. However, participants were recruited from facilities that catered for people with various forms of Intellectual Disabilities.

General Reading Habits

Three of the participants said they read every day. One participants said he used to read daily but does not read as much because he does not have the kind of books he likes to read. The others did not have a fixed reading schedule but read quiet often.

Categories of Books Read

The participants read a wide category of books. The genre of books read by the participants were drama, action, comedy, mystery, mayhem, biographies, fiction, murder and Sci-Fi. Other groups of books that some participants read were sports magazine, the Bible and history books.

Limitations to Reading

Nine participants said they wanted to read more books. The one participant who did not want to read more said it was because she constantly read books. Although all the participants agreed that they wanted to read more, they had several limitations that prevented them from reading more. Three participants said the availability of books was a problem. Another participant said the subject matter of books did not interest him. The size of the print was another problem participants faced.  One participants said,
“Sometimes the size of the print. Well that’s basically the size of the print. My eyes get blurry.”
Another participant admitted that he could not read a lot because of his sight.

Benefits derived from reading

All participants preferred reading a Paperback of Hardcover books. The outstanding benefits participants derived from reading was entertainment. Other participants acquired knowledge through reading. One participant said he used reading as an escape from peer pressure. Another read as a hobby.

Being Read to

Nine out of the 10 participants had had books read to them. However, two of them did not prefer books to be read to them. One participant said she preferred to read her own books because she reads fast. Another said,
“I think I will get more out of it reading it myself instead of hearing it read to me.”
Out of the other nine participants, the main reason for having a book read aloud to them was because it helped them learn. Other reasons given for because it helped participants to sleep and also listening to a read aloud helped them do other projects while listening to a story.
One participant said he learnt how to read by having a visual representation of words. He stated, “Well when somebody else is reading it to you, if you are not good at reading yet, you get more interested in reading probably. I started to read when I got a Mr. Wizard science book. And also they use to put magic trick books that were shaped like that, about 6 pages or so teach you how to do magic tricks. It was an interesting brand. And that thing happened, see when I was in third grade, that time when I learnt how to read. I got pneumonia so I was home and my mother was my teacher. See she was taking care of my three year younger sister and anytime I come across a word and I didn’t know what it was I asked my mother she would tell me what it was. I photographed that word and learnt how to read that way.”

Survey Results

The second part of the result section focuses on surveys that were sent to participants. Although participants could use devices to complete the survey, it was recommended they used either tablets or personal computers.
A total of 54 participants took the survey. However, four of the results were rejected because the participants were not able to view the prototype. The average time spent on completing the prototype was 11minutes and 46 seconds.


A total of 60% of participants used laptops of PCs to fill the survey. The average time spent completing the survey using a laptop or PC was 12minutes and 38 seconds.
On the other hand, 40% of participants used Smartphones for the survey. On the average, it took 10minutes and 29 seconds to complete the survey on a Smartphone.

Participant demographics

The oldest person to fill the survey was 61 years while the youngest person was 21 years. However, majority of participants for the study were below 27 years.


A total of 27 females and 22 males took the survey. One participant preferred not to disclose the gender.

Chart 1. Gender

Reading Habits

Out of the 50 participants, 29 read books very frequently. Eight of them, which represents 16% read frequently while 13 of them did not read frequently.
Additionally, 92% of participants wanted to read more while the remaining 8% did not want to read more books.
Close to 50% of the participants preferred to read physical books. Also, 27% preferred reading digital books. Finally, a total of 11 participants (24%) preferred reading either physical or digital books.

Chart 2. Book Preference
Majority of participants preferred to read Adventure books. This was followed by books on Romance where 20% of participants preferred to read. Also, 12% of participants preferred to read other genres of books. The genres mentioned under the Other option were biographies, Christian, philosophy, non-fiction, drama and motivation.

Chart 3. Kind of Book Read
Majority of participants, 58% had had a book read to them while 42% never had a book read to them. On the contrary, 62% did not prefer books to be read to them.

Testing the Prototype- Interview

The interface had three main features that were tested. These are the Read Aloud, Visual Storytelling and Summary functions. After participants were shown the prototype, they were asked to express their views on the system. Their findings are shown below.

Read Aloud Function

Participants generally found the Read Aloud function to be useful. For instance, Participant 001 said.
“Because that will help me because like I said, me being half blind, if I couldn’t read so someone read it to me. That will be helpful. That could encourage more people to read the story.”
Other participants (Participant 004 and 005) respectively said
“I was reading along with it. He said it was easier to read than a hard copy book”
 “It was easy to follow. That’s it. It was easy to follow and kind of brought it more to life.”
Although all the participants found the read aloud function useful some preferred to read the book themselves. Two other participants said the pace of reading aloud was slow and that made them read ahead. Participant 004 said
“The words were clear. You can understand everything. It was kind of slower from what you will read from a book.”
Contrary to the view that the speech was slow, Participant 008 said,
“I wanted to read more of the story. It sounded interesting. The speed was Ok and the colors used was fine.”
Another participant (Participant 010) said although he thought the system will be useful, he will not want to be read to.
“It will be alright but I can read so why will I have someone read to me?”

Visual Storytelling

Three participants (Participant 002, 004 and 007) did not find the visual story useful. Participant 002 said,
“I didn’t care for them at all.”
Also, Participant 004 said,
“I don’t think that’s really my kind of a story or my type of book. I just like what he was reading to me. I thought there was not much background there.”
In addition, Participant 007 said he could not a lot of meaning from the visual story.
Other participants said they liked the visual storytelling feature. Participant 009 likes the visual storytelling feature because
“They showed good picture of what they are trying to tell you.”
In addition, Participant 003 liked how the images sequentially told the story and said,
“I will say they were pretty well done because it showed you what the story was.”
Participant 006 described the visual story as a silent movie and said he will use the images as a visual guide as he reads the story.
Participant 010 said although he liked the visual storytelling feature, he will not use it often but once in a while.


Participant 009 found the summary useful. He said,
“A summary is very important for me because I scan thousands of books. And sometimes I say well my time is short and I want to find what the summary is. If they have the summary at the back of the book, I want to read that summary and see if I can get something out of it. And if it comes up as being important then I know other parts of the book are important too. Especially first I go to the content to see what I can find. A lot of times, the content is too vague and you can’t tell what’s in the books because the content is just nonsense. It is just jokes and stupid part.”
Also, the setup of the summary was a feature Participant 008 liked. One reason why a participant preferred the summary was because
“Sometimes you like to skip to the end or to the middle.”
Contrary to liking the summary features, some participants did not prefer the idea of a summarized story. Participant 001 described the story to a real life event. He said,
“It is kind of telling you the story even before you even read it. I don’t like that too much. That’s just like watching a movie on TV, will you like somebody to sit and tell you I’ve seen that show before? And they will start telling you the story. They will give the story away now.” 
Another participant (Participant 005) said although the summary is a good feature, he prefers to read the whole story.

Book Club Preferences- Survey

Using open ended questions in the survey, participants were asked how a virtual book club will encourage reading and how it will promote understanding of what had been read. The responses are categorized into two sections.
The first section is based on the structure of a virtual book club. The structure refers to the various organization components the virtual book club platform should incorporate. The structure is based on general ideas and are not specific.
The functions section deals with the features the virtual book club is expected to have. The functions section is based on specific features that should be added.
Table 1. Structure and Functions of Virtual Book Clubs

Features to encourage reading Features to enhance understanding
Structure Book Reviews Ease to purchase/rent books
Easier way to find books Easy Navigation
Accessibility of Books Reading Plan
Physical Meetings Cross Platform Compatibility
Well organized Book sharing
Ability to work offline
Functions Track Reading Behavior Images
Gist/Summary Videos
Reading Accountability Ability to highlight text
Discussions Page Mark
Commenting Features Audio
Discussions Definition of words
Quizzes Feedback
Track Reading Progress Guidance on Books
Legible Fonts Book Suggestions
Audio Notifications
Notifications Note taking features
Search tools
Comic Pictures
Drawing and coloring options

Table 1 shows the various structures and functions that an online book club should incorporate.

Recommended Features

Additionally, participants gave recommendations on the features they expected an online book club to have. The feature mostly mentioned was to have words explained.
“A dictionary associated with it. As in, I just choose the word and I get the meaning of the word. Just like how grammarly does”
Another participant said,
“a dictionary or a way of clicking to get the meaning of new words”
Additionally, participants wanted images to better explain what they read. They also suggested an audio version of books and a summary function.
Details of the preferences of participants are explained in Table 2 below.
Table 2. Participants Preferences.

Book Club Prototype

After interacting with the prototype, participants were asked to give feed on their views. The first question asked focused on finding out how participants thought the interface can encourage them to read more.
The answers given by participants are grouped into three categories. They are appearance, tools and feedback.


Appearance focuses on what the participants saw that can encourage them to read more. One participants said,
I loved that it highlighted one sentence at a time! I do that while I read text online anyway, so it was helpful!
Another participant said that,
I like the idea of the words being highlighted as they are read aloud. It would help someone by reinforcing things visually as well as by sound.
Another added that,
“I like the idea of the words being highlighted as they are read aloud. It would help someone by reinforcing things visually as well as by sound.”
Also, participants said the transitions made it easier to follow and understand the story. Other participants wanted information on other genres of books and information on the next chapter before it was read.
Finally, one participant preferred more function keys.


This section focuses on the features that participants believed will encourage them to read more. Some of the image features mentioned was that the interface should have text to explain the visual story.
Other tool suggestions under the images was that participants wanted cartoons or animated images instead of still pictures.
Under audio tools, participants wanted to control the audio aspect by making the speech faster or slower. Or even to change the gender of the voice. Another participant said by listening to the audio story, he/she could multitask. Thereby encouraging him/her to read more.


Feedback refers to prompts or notifications that participants thought will encourage them to read. They wanted reminders of books or any other information. They also wanted the interface to remind them to read and hold them accountable.

Recommendations for the interface

Most participants did not want features added to the interface. One participant wrote,
Yes, I like reading…Please add me. THE VOICE THING works for me. I find difficulty in reading few words..:(
However, a few had some recommendations to suit their preferences. Some the recommendations given was that,
“The audio comes with pictures”
Other participants preferred news features that informs them of the kind of books they like, discussion forums, videos and colorful pages.
Another participant wrote that he preferred the ability to leave notes or create a discussion inline the passage.

Read Aloud Function

Some participants did not like the read aloud function. One of them stated that he preferred being read to. Additionally, other participants said they preferred to read at their own pace since they read faster.
On the flip side, majority of participants like the read aloud feature. Some stated that
It’s really good idea and it’s what gives online reading an advantage over reading books.
“might be helpful for the visual impairment”
Other participants had recommendations to improve the read aloud function. One participant preferred a more robust navigation system to the read aloud system. Others stated that they wanted the speech to be faster. Another added that it was difficult for his imagination to follow the reader’s voice.

Visual Storytelling

Some participants preferred the visual story because it gave a better understanding to the text. Others wrote that the function is useful because it helps follow the story.
One of the statements from a participant was that,
I have mental issue, there are some content that I can barely understand, the perfect visual image helps to understand the content
However, majority of participants either did not like the visual story or had recommendations for it. Some said they could not follow the story from the visual story function and
One of them said,
“Also very helpful.  But I wasn’t sure if the images were to be looked at after hearing the story or before.  It might be more helpful to have the Visuals accompanying the Read Aloud function, like when a parent is reading an illustrated children’s story aloud.”
Others said the pictures were a bit dull and they preferred a summary or caption to the images.


More than 30 out of the 50 participants thought the summary was useful. They liked it that the story was summarized and not sections of it. They also liked that the summary made them know if the whole book was worth reading or not. One said,
I like this part a lot because it allows me to reassure myself that I retained the content.
However, 5 participants said the summary function was not necessary.
Some participants were concerned about the length of words used in the summary. One said,
 The summary was a nice touch but it became wordy after a while.
Finally, another recommendation given for the summary was that the summary should be made up three paragraphs. The first paragraph being the story, the second what happens and the third a conclusion.

System Usability Scale

The SUS results for both the interview and survey are explained in this section. The scores for the SUS are presented in percentiles.
Participants scored high on the overall scores on both the interviews and surveys without much difference between the two scores. The percentile score for interviews was 74.3 and 67.6 for the survey. This infers that although system is useful and well-designed there is room for improvement.
The graphs for the SUS scores for both interviews and survey are shown below.

Figure 1: SUS Score for Survey

Figure 2 SUS Total Score for Interview
Majority of participants for both surveys and interviews agreed that they envisioned themselves using the system frequently.
In the Table below, the results of the ten individual items of the SUS test are displayed for both the interview and survey.

Figure 3 SUS for both interview and survey
From the chart above (Figure 3), it is seen that high numbers of participants for both the interviews and survey were comfortable with the concept or using the prototype. However, there was a contrast with the highest number of participant remaining neutral when asked if they thought there was too much inconsistency with the system.
It is worth noting that majority of the participants used for the survey and interviews preferred to read a physical book instead of a virtual book. For instance, 12 participants from the survey preferred to read digital books. Similarly, 26 had the preference of physical books and 11 opted for both physical and digital books. This was unlike the interview where all the participants preferred reading a physical book.
The differences in the SUS scores for the different modes of reading are presented below.

Figure 4 SUS Mode of Reading

Read Aloud

There was a difference in the response of participants who preferred being read to than those who did not. Thirty- one participants did not prefer being read to while 19 preferred to be read to in the survey.

Figure 5 SUS distribution for read aloud option for survey
On the other hand, the SUS scores on interviews to find out if participants for preferred being read to did not show a difference between preferences. The average of three participants who did not like being read to was 78.3. Similarly, the average of seven participants who preferred being read to was 74.6.

Reading Frequency

There was a difference based on the frequency of reading books for both groups. These are shown in the charts below. How frequently participants read was classified in three groups.

Figure 6 SUS for Very Frequently Reading Habit
The average SUS scores for participants who read very frequently on the interviews was 65.8 while a score of 70 was obtained from the survey.
On the other hand, there was an average SUS score of 65.1 for the interview and 72.5 for the survey for participants who read frequently.

Figure 7 SUS for Frequent Reading Habit
Participants who did not read frequently showed a different score range on the SUS. On the average, the SUS scores for interviews was 68.7 and 77.5 for the survey.

Figure 8 SUS for Not Frequent Reading Habit

Read Aloud Prototype

This section is based on the feedback of participants after using the prototype.

Figure 9 SUS for Read Aloud Prototype

Visual Storytelling

While 8 participants in the survey did not find the visual story function useful, 41 found it useful. The average score for the SUS for participants who did not like the visual story was 51.3. On the other hand, participants who found the visual story useful scored 71.5.
However, for the interview the difference between the scores of participants who liked the visual storytelling function and those who did not was not wide. Instead, both scored high. The average SUS score for those who liked the visual storytelling function was 72.5 while a 78.3 was recorded for those did not like the SUS function.
The distribution of the scores for both surveys and interviews are shown below.

Figure 10 SUS for Interview and Survey on Visual Storytelling
The final section of the SUS result is based on the relation to how participants. Surprisingly the same respondents on the survey who did not like the read aloud function also did not like the visual story.


A high number from both the interview and survey preferred the story being summarized.


This section discusses the results based on the research questions. It will begin with discussing the problems faced by people with intellectual disabilities on online book clubs. Then the three features that were tested will be discussed.  This will begin with discussing the visual storytelling. Then the read aloud and summary feature will also discussed. The section ends with further recommendations for designing an online book clubs for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Visual Storytelling

Having illustrations in books is not new. Visuals maybe used to explain a story. However, online books clubs do not have a function where a person can use only images to tell the story in a book. This may be a disadvantage to the disabled because visuals help with understanding. VanKeulen (2011) states that visualization are significant in comprehension because it boosts understanding.
Another reason visualizations are important on online books clubs is because a study by Shurr and Taber-Doughty (2012), demonstrated an increase in comprehension when participants conversed about pictures related to a passage.
To test how people with intellectual disabilities make use of a visual story, we based the prototype for the visual story on the following:

  1. Each image must tell the distinct aspect of the story.
  2. Sequential arrangements of the images to tell the visual story.
  3. The size of image was reduced so it did not take long to load.
  4. The transition method used was by making one image fade into the next.
  5. Positions of the number of images out of the total was labelled at the top.

These steps were taken because we wanted to test how persons with intellectual disabilities can gain understanding of a story by just looking at the images. The transitions were made to simulate turning the pages of a book. Also, having the image numbered showed participants the number of images they had either viewed or had left.  However, there are certain guidelines that should be considered before using images to tell a visual story.

  1. The number of images used to tell the visual story plays an important role. During the interview process, it was observed that participants lost interest in looking at the images after a while. Additionally, we observed that the scrolled from one image to another very quickly.
  2. It is also critical to note what to visual and what not to visualize. A story like Ali Baba and the forty thieves from the Arabian Nights has many scenes of murder, theft and death. It may be problematic to show such scenes because of its gory nature. The question that arises is, what part of the story should be visualized without any negative consequences on the readers, especially those with intellectual disabilities?
  3. The type of visualization used is another important factor. In the prototype, images of real people were used. There are several ways to visual stories. For instances, comics use cartoon representations. The type of visualization to use for online book clubs should be studied because there is not much information on it.
  4. The usage of visuals and other prompts. Some participants said they did not like the visual story because it did not have text to explain the story. Others said they did not want text on the images because the images should convey meaning without text. Using test to explain images can be helpful but not in all cases. Having text on the images can be distracting especially to persons with intellectual disabilities who may have problems with reading.

Contrary to this view, Hatch (2009) says pairing pictures with words may hinder learning because the image may be ambiguous, especially when they represent abstract concepts, have multiple meanings, or serve more than one grammatical function.
Some participants found the images used to be ambiguous. But majority did not. There may be many ways of avoiding ambiguity with images. How the prototype avoided ambiguity was by having images that clearly explained the story. These were sequential therefore the plot of the story was understood. Using visual stories on book clubs should go beyond the prototype. Further studies can be conducted on finding on the best form of visualizations on book clubs for persons with special needs.
Ambiguity does not have to be discarded when telling a visual story. They have been used to convey other meanings successfully. For instance, a visual metaphor can be described as reading between the lines visually. It refers to the ability of images to convey meaning in addition to their straight forward or obvious meaning.

  1. Another aspect of the visual story that is significant is the sequential nature of the images. Images are presented in sequential nature to avoid ambiguity. We observed that by following the sequence, some participants were able to understand the story.

The use of pictures in telling stories has been in existence for a while. However, having a section where only pictures related to the story is in the early stages. This paper looks into the usefulness of having a visual storytelling feature for persons with intellectual disabilities. Some participants were able to understand the Green Door story by looking at the images. However, others did not fully understand the story. The story used in the prototype did not have scenes that could potentially disturb the participants. This makes it difficult to determine how participants may respond to a visual story that has such scenes.
The dual coding theory supports the notion of having images tell stories in addition to text. The dual coding theory states that
Human cognition is unique in that it has become specialized for dealing simultaneously with language and with nonverbal objects and events. Moreover, the language system is peculiar in that it deals directly with linguistic input and output (in the form of speech or writing) while at the same time serving a symbolic function with respect to nonverbal objects, events, and behaviors. Any representational theory must accommodate this dual functionality.” (Pavio, 1986).
Further, three types of processes are explained by Hatch. They are 1) representational, the direct activation of verbal or non-verbal representations, (2) referential, the activation of the verbal system by the nonverbal system or vice-versa, and (3) associative processing, the activation of representations within the same verbal or nonverbal system.
The dual coding theory applies to the visual story because the cognitive subsystem can process both images and text meaning that a visual story can be processed as well as a text based story.
According to Bettina (2013), the developmental task a child must acquire from the sequence of a picture book are; 1) the ability to understand the pictures – that is, to build up a pictorial representation; 2) the ability to understand the text – that is, to build up a textual representation; and 3) the ability to integrate these representations – that is, to understand or interpret the picture–text relations. Using this strategy on online book clubs for the disabled can help meet their needs.

Read Aloud

Richardson (1995) states that read alouds have been used as an effective and efficient means of creating awareness and encouraging discussions on certain topics. He further explained that read alouds can be used as means of discussing sensitive issues related to culture. Children discussed what they learned from the read aloud and compared and contrasted their cultural beliefs and that of others by citing specific events to illustrate their discussion.
One of the features of online books clubs is that they may have members from different locations and cultures. This make is necessary to be designed according to suits the different cultural and intellectual needs of members. Although the study advocates designing online book clubs to for persons with intellectual needs, it is also necessary to take into consideration their cultural perspectives because this may have an influence on the members.
There are three ways that digital text format can be rendered. The first referred to as text to speech. This is done through a computer software and some stand-alone hardware that reads text aloud using synthetic speech. Image files are included as digital text under this feature. Text to speech is mostly included in the operating system of most computers.
The second feature is rendered is as digital talking books. This is a multimedia format that combines robust navigation with either synthetic speech or recorded human voice that conforms to the digital audio information System (DAISY standard).
The third consists of commercial digital texts or e-books which have embedded read aloud functionalities. These features can be adjusted to suit the users’ preference.
The read aloud function on an online book club should comprise the components of these three formats. For instance, like the digital texts, the user should be able to adjust the system to suit his/her preferences. Additionally, it can use a recorded human voice like Daisy and should be embedded in the online book club so the user does not have to separately install it.
On the whole, both participants for the interviews and survey found the story being read to them useful. Read aloud tools are also not novice. The aim of adding the read aloud function in the prototype was to introduce a feature that most read aloud lack; the ability to track each word as it is being read.
The ability to track was developed based on enhancing print awareness for persons with intellectual disabilities. By doing so, persons with intellectual disabilities will have knowledge of both the sound of words and how it is written. This may help with improving reading habits.  According to Justice& Kaderavek (2002), experiences such as (a) print awareness; (b) phonological awareness; (c) alphabet knowledge; and (d) metalinguistic awareness can be enhanced using shared stories.
Undeniably, print awareness is useful. However, these studies are not based on people with intellectual disabilities or how they read books online. There is a gap between their needs in book clubs and what is being done about it in reality.
For instance, participants were able to follow the read aloud function. Even those who did not read often said such a prompt will encourage them to read.
Similar to the visual story, guidelines must be considered before it is implemented.

  1. The pace of reading. Most read aloud functions give the user the ability to adjust the speed of what is being read to them. This feature should be added to any read aloud function for intellectually challenged persons.
  2. Tracking the words read. In the prototype, words that were read aloud were highlighted in a color that contrasted the text and background. There are several ways that words that are being read can be displayed. For instance, the word could become bigger as it is read or even shrink. However, the rule of thumb is that the method of tracking should be easily recognized and distinguished from other characters on the page.
  3. Voice and tone enhancements: Although the prototype did not test this feature, we add that this feature is needed on a read aloud. One user in describing how he wants a read aloud function said he preferred when he has options for how text is read to him. For instance, a different voice for every character and different in voice based on the mood of the character in the story. Although these features can be added, more research has to be done on the best approach to implementing it. For instance, will a background sound will the story is being read be necessary? Or will dramatizing actions be a necessary component?

Summary of Story

The summary feature was developed with the following guidelines. The first was to summarize the whole story and not sections of it as the blurb of a physical book does. The second was to have the summary fit on a page.
However, majority of participants did not like the summary useful. They preferred to read the whole book instead.
One reason why participants may not have liked the summary feature because most online book clubs have discussions on the book read. This may serve a summary or synopsis of the story. Therefore they will not need the summary function.
However, there needs to be more research to support this claim.

Recommended Features for online book clubs

Participants had a wide range of design implementations for online book clubs. This showed that although book clubs are spreading, they are not tailored to meet the needs of varying members. The top five features participants wanted to either be added or improved on online book clubs was the dictionary feature, images, summary, book recommendations and audio.
Persons with intellectual disabilities may not understand text as easily as those without intellectual disabilities. Four out of the five top recommendations they mentioned deals with ways to better understand the text they read. Improvements on the way text are presented on online book clubs can may make it more accessible to members with intellectual disabilities.
Online book clubs now have varying ways of getting users involved however these changes are not targeted at getting person with intellectual disabilities join. Scholastic Book Club[7] offers exciting games and activities that accelerate the learning process. Also, The Book People Limited[8] encourages children to ask the author a question. In return, they receive an autographed book by the author. Book clubs practices should be focused on the needs of all members including those with intellectual disabilities.


In this study, the designing of an online book club for people with intellectual disabilities was examined based on three features; a read aloud, visual storytelling and summary function.  Using both interviews and surveys, participant’s interaction with the prototype of the design was tested. Information on the general reading habits and preference on the structure of an online book club was retrieved.
The findings of the study revealed that persons with intellectual disabilities preferred stories to be read to them instead on an online book club. However, they pace of the speech should be adjustable and the text that is read aloud should be highlighted.
Although participants found the visual story and summary useful they had several design recommendations for those features. For example some participants wanted different kinds of images such as cartoons or real persons to tell the visual story. They also preferred the summary to be detailed and shorter.


The major limitation to the study was that some participants were not familiar with using the computer. This had an effect on the study because it made it harder for them to use the prototype. Ideally, participants who were familiar with technology had to be used for the study. However, not all the participants for the interviews were familiar with using computers.

Further Research

Based on the study, we suggest the following areas of research that will be useful to people with intellectual disabilities who are part of online book clubs.

  1. Conducting an ethnographic or contextual inquiry on how participants with intellectual disabilities use the interface of an online book club. This is suggested because by observing their natural behaviors, designers can come up with better alternatives on how they use online book clubs.
  2. Studies on the art of storytelling to persons with intellectual disabilities in ways other than through text. There needs to be a focus on how people with intellectual disabilities can understand information using different approaches.


People with intellectual disabilities have needs for the design of an online book club. Online books clubs are not well designed to meet the needs of members with intellectual disabilities. There are avenues for design improvements. Some of the improvements are having a read aloud function that reads the text aloud. Other features include visual story and summary function.


  1. A1 Otaiba, S. (2004). Weaving moral elements and research-based reading practices in inclusive classrooms using shared book reading techniques. Early Child Development and Cure,               174, 575 589.
  2. Allor, J. H., Mathes, P. G., Roberts, J. K., Jones, F. G., & Champlin, T. M. (2010). Teaching students with moderate intellectual disabilities to read: An experimental examination of a comprehensive reading intervention. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45, 3-22.
  3. Alves, A. J., & Gottlieb, J. (1986). Teacher interactions with mainstreamed handicapped students and their nonhandicapped peers. Learning Disability Quarterly, 9, 77-83.
  4. Ayres, K., Mechling, L., & Sansosti, F. J. (2013). The use of mobile technologies to assist with life skills/dependence of students with moderate/severe intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorders: Considerations for the future of school psychology. Psychology in the Schools, 50(3), 259-271.
  5. Barnes, C. (2003). Effecting change; Disability, culture and art? Paper presented at Finding the Spotlight Conference, Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. Retrieved from
  6. Barnes, C. and Mercer, G. (2005). The Social Model of Disability: Europe and the Majority World, Leeds; The Disability Press.
  7. Bazan-Salazar (2005).  Alzheimer’s Activities That Stimulate the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill, Ebrar.
  8. Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer and Jörg Meibauer (2013). Towards a Cognitive Theory of Picturebooks. International Research in Children’s Literature  6:2, 143-160
  9. Bielecki J, Swender LS (2004). The Assessment of Social Functioning in Individuals with Mental Retardation. Behaviour Modification; 28: 694-708. PMid:15296526.
  10. Brown, L., Nietupski, J., & Hamre Nietupski, S. (1976).  The criterion of ultimate functioning and public school services for severely handicapped students. Hey, don’t forget about me: New directions for serving the severely handicapped.  Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children, 2‑15.
  11. Calkins, L., (2001). The art of teaching reading (1st ed.). New York: Longman.
  12. Cassell, J. and Ryokai, K. (2001). “Making Space for Voice: Technologies to Support Children’s Fantasy and Storytelling.” Personal Technologies 5(3): 203-224
  13. Censor. (1812). On Book-Clubs. The Belfast Monthly Magazine, 9(49), 98-98.
  14. Daniels, H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups (2nd ed.). Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
  15. Daniels, H. 1994. Literature circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups. Portland, ME: Stenhouse
  16. Dardess, G. (1995). Bringing Comic Books to Class. College English, 57(2), 213-222.
  17. Distefano, D. (2014). School book club gets kids and adults involved! Retrieved February 21, 2017, from
  18. Fister, B. (2005). “Reading as a Contact Sport”: Online Book Groups and the Social Dimensions of Reading. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(4), 303-309.
  19. Fyson, Rachel. (2010) “Human Rights and Social Wrongs: Issues in Safeguarding Adults with Learning Disabilities.” Practice : Social Work in Action 22.5: 12.
  20. Goatley, V. J., Brock, C. H., & Raphael, T. E. (1995). Diverse learners participating in regular education “Book Clubs.” Reading Research Quarterly, 30.
  21. Goatley, Virginia and T. Raphael (1992) Moving literature-based instruction into the special education setting; a book club with non-traditional learners. Institute for Research on Teaching
  22. Hatch, P. (2009). The effects of daily reading opportunities and teacher experience on adolescents with moderate to severe intellectual disability. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  23. Hua, Y., Woods-Groves, S., Ford, J., & Nobles, K. (2014). Effects of the Paraphrasing Strategy on Expository Reading Comprehension of Young Adults with Intellectual Disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 49(3), 429-439. Retrieved from
  24. Hudson, M. E., & Test, D. W. (2011). Evaluating the evidence base for using shared story reading to promote literacy for students with extensive support needs. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 36, 34-45.
  25. Justice, L. M., & Kaderavek, J. (2002). Using shared storybook reading to promote emergent literacy. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(4), 8 –13.
  26. Kadjer, S. (2006). Bringing the outside in: Visual ways to engage reluctant readers. Portland, ME. Stenhouse Publishers
  27. Kappel, J. (1948). Book Clubs and the Evaluation of Books. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 12(2), 243-252.
  28. Kooy, M. (2006). The telling stories of book clubs: Women teachers and professional development. New York: Springe
  29. Lambert, J. (2006). Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. Berkeley: Digital Diner Press. Digital Storytelling Cookbook. Berkeley: Digital Diner Press.
  30. Larson, L. C. (2009). Reader response meets new literacies: Empowering readers in online learning communities. The Reading Teacher, 62(8), 638-648.
  31. Latour, B. (2012). We have never been modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  32. Long, E. (2003). Book clubs: Women and the uses of reading in everyday life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  33. Lyons, Gordon and Mundy-Taylor, Julie (2012) “Following the Blue Bouncing Ball: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Using Storytelling and Collaborative Stretching to Enhance Quality of Life for Persons with Severe Cognitive Impairments,” Storytelling, Self, Society: Vol. 8 : Iss. 2 , Article 2.
  34. Matlick, J. (2014). Book clubs and the impact it has on students. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from
  35. Michalos, Sarah (2007). The Effects of Participating in Book Clubs for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Retrieved from
  36. Mims, P., Browder, D., Baker, J., Lee, A., & Spooner, F. (2009). Increasing Comprehension of Students with Significant Intellectual Disabilities and Visual Impairments during Shared Stories. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 44(3), 409-420.
  37. Mims, P., Hudson, M., & Browder, D. (2012). Using read alouds of grade-level biographies and systematic prompting to promote comprehension for students with moderate and severe developmental disabilities. Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 27, 67-80. doi:10.1177/1088357612446859
  38. O’Donnell-Allen, C. (2006). The book club companion: Fostering strategic readers in the secondary classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  39. Paivio, A. (1986). Mental Representations. New York: Oxford University Press.
  40. Panek, M. (2004). Active Reading in the Multicultural Composition Classroom. Composition Studies,32(1), 49-72.
  41. Penne, A., Brug, A., Putten, A., Vlaskamp, C. and Maes, B. (2012) ‘Staff interactive style during multisensory storytelling with persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities’. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52(2), pp. 167-178.
  42. Raphael, T. (2001). Book Club Workshop: Learning about language and literacy through culture. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from
  43. Richardson, J. (1995). A Read-Aloud for Cultural Diversity. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 39(2), 160-162.
  44. Scharber, C. (2009). Online Book Clubs: Bridges between Old and New Literacies Practices. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(5), 433-437.
  45. Shurr, J., & Taber-Doughty, T. (2012). Increasing comprehension for middle school students with moderate intellectual disability on age-appropriate texts. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47(3), 359-372
  46. Sedo, D.R. (2003). Readers in Reading Groups: An Online Survey of Face-to-Face and Virtual Book Clubs. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 9(1): 66-90.
  47. Singh, J. P. (2008) Paulo Freire: Possibilities for Dialogic Communication in a Market-Driven Information Age. Information, Communication& Society, 11:5, 699-726
  48. Telephone Book Clubs. Retrieved from
  49. VanKeulen, B. J. (2011). Effects of literature circles on comprehension and engagement
  50. Umadevi, VM, & Sukumaran, P. (2012). Functional Social Skills of Adults with Intellectual Disability. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(2), 72-80.
  51. Wehmeyer, M., Shogren, K., Zager, D., Smith, T., & Simpson, R. (2010). Research-Based Principles and Practices for Educating Students with Autism: Self-Determination and Social Interactions. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45(4), 475-486.
  52. Xu, Y., Park, H., & Baek, Y. (2011). A New Approach Toward Digital Storytelling: An Activity Focused on Writing Self efficacy in a Virtual Learning Environment. Educational Technology & Society, 14 (4), 181–191.


Interview Questions

General Reading Habits

  1. Age:
  2. Gender:
  3. How often do you read books?
  1. Very Frequently b. Frequently c. Not Frequently
  1. Do you wish to read more books?
  1. Yes b. No

2a. What do you think is stopping you from reading more?

  1. Time b. My disability Structure of reading platform d. Other

2b. What will motivate you to read more?

  1. What kinds of books do you like reading?
  1. Action b. SciFi c. Adventure d. Romance e. Comedy
  1. What other type of books do you read?

4b. Why not other types of books?

  1. What is your preferred mode of reading books
  1. Hardcopy b. Virtually
  1. If virtually, what tool do you use?

7a. what kind of benefits did you derive as compared with reading a hardcopy book?

  1. Have you ever had a book read to you?
  1. Yes b. No

7a.How helpful did you find a book being read to you?

  1. Do you prefer books to be read to you?
  1. Yes  b. No
  1. Will reading in groups be helpful to you?

10a.If yes, in what ways?

  1. Why do you read books?
  2.  How do you think these benefits can be incorporated to an online reading platform

Book Clubs Interface

  1. How can the structure of an online reading platform motivate you to read more?
  2. What features do you wish an online reading platform had that will encourage you to read?
  3. What features do you wish an online reading platform to help you understand what you to read?
  4. What did you not like about the interface?
  5. How can the interface encourage you to read more?
  6. What will you like to be added to a Readers’ Club interface?

After showing the prototype- System Usability Scale

  1. I think that I would like to use this system frequently.

  1. I found the system unnecessarily complex.

  1. I thought the system was easy to use.

  1. I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system.

  1. I found the various functions in this system were well integrated.

  1. I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system.

  1. I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly.

  1. I found the system very cumbersome to use.

  1. I felt very confident using the system.

  1. I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system.

Survey Questions

General Reading Habits

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. How often do you read books?
  1. Very Frequently b. Frequently c. Not Frequently
  1. Do you wish to read more books?
  1. Yes b. No
  1. What kinds of books do you like reading?
  1. Action b. Sci-Fi c. Adventure d. Romance e. Comedy f. Other
  1. What is your preferred method of reading books?
  1. Hardcopy b. Virtually  c. Either Methods
  1. Have you ever had a book read to you?
  1. Yes b. No
  1. Do you prefer books to be read to you?
  1. Yes  b. No
  1. Will reading in groups be helpful to you?
  1. Yes  b. No
  1.  How can the structure of an online reading platform motivate you to read more?
  2.  What features do you wish an online reading platform had that will encourage you to read?
  3.  What features do you wish an online reading platform had to help you understand what you to read?

Questions after using the prototype.

  1.  What did you not like about the interface?
  2.  How can the interface encourage you to read more?
  3.  What will you like to be added to a Readers’ Club interface?
  4.  What are your views on the Read Aloud Function?
  5.  What are your views on the Visual Story Function?
  6.  What are your views on the Whole Story Summary Function?

System Usability Scale

  1. I think that I would like to use this system frequently.

  1. I found the system unnecessarily complex.

  1. I thought the system was easy to use.

  1. I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system.

  1. I found the various functions in this system were well integrated.

  1. I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system.

  1. I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly.

  1. I found the system very cumbersome to use.

  1. I felt very confident using the system.

  1. I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system.

[1] Oprah’s Book Club holds discussions on books online. It has numerous activities over the internet to engage users. Retrieved from
[2] Goodreads is an online library where you can see other book shelves, rating and discussions. Retrieved from
[4] Definition of Intellectual Disability. Retrieved from
[7] Scholastic Book Club. Retrieved from
[8] The Book People Limited. Retrieved from

EssayHub’s Community of Professional Tutors & Editors
Tutoring Service, EssayHub
Professional Essay Writers for Hire
Essay Writing Service, EssayPro
Professional Custom
Professional Custom Essay Writing Services
In need of qualified essay help online or professional assistance with your research paper?
Browsing the web for a reliable custom writing service to give you a hand with college assignment?
Out of time and require quick and moreover effective support with your term paper or dissertation?