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Do it Yourself: Video Self Modeling Made Easy

Kavita Rao, Carol H. Hitchcock, Precille C, Boisvert, Elizabeth Kilpatrick, Cheryl Corbiell

Elaine, a tutor, and Carlo, a fourth-grader, sit together at a table with a laptop. They discuss the book that Carlo is about to read, which Carlo chose from a set of preselected books at his instructional level. Elaine and Carlo discuss the cover of the book before starting to read, then they read a few pages in unison. After 2 minutes of unison reading, Elaine reaches over to the laptop, hits a button, and starts recording the rest of their tutoring session on video

When Carlo first sat down at the table, Elaine ensured that the laptop’s camera had him in the center of the frame. She placed an external microphone connected to the laptop on the desk, in order to pick up Carlo’s voice more clearly than the computer’s built-in microphone.

Elaine records Carlo as he echo-reads the passage they just read in unison. Elaine reads a sentence, modeling pace and prosody, and Carlo reads the sentence after her. When Carlo stumbles on a word, Elaine says “let’s try that one again,” and models the sentence for him again —this gives Carlo a chance to read each sentence without errors. After echo reading the passage, Elaine stops the video recording and asks Carlo to reread the passage aloud independently. When he finishes reading, she praises his efforts and asks him a few questions to check his comprehension. They play a short “memory game” to reinforce new or challenging vocabulary. After Carlo goes back to class, Elaine spends about 15 minutes editing the video that was recorded during the echo reading portion of the tutoring session.

Video modeling (VM) and video self-modeling (VSM) are two methods to support the development of target skills or behaviors. With VM, the target student watches a video of a peer performing a targeted skill or behavior. With VSM, target students watch themselves successfully performing a target skill or behavior. Studies have shown that both VM and VSM have positive outcomes on target skills and behaviors (Cihak & Shrader, 2009); individuals tend to be more engaged by videos of themselves and to learn self-efficacy in the process of making their VSM projects (Marcus & Wilder, 2009). 

In her efforts to help Carlo gain proficiency with reading fluency and comprehension, Elaine decided to use VSM. During her tutoring session with Carlo, she was able to create (by editing herself and repetition of troublesome passages out of the video) a video of Carlo fluently repeating each sentence.

Watching the video gives Carlo the opportunity to see himself reading with fluency, which he does n­ot have when he reads independently. Carlo will watch these videos before each tutoring session over the next few weeks, and Elaine will make new videos as needed, portraying Carlo practicing reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary at incrementally higher skill levels. (See Video 1 at “Do It Yourself: Video Self Modeling Made Easy,” http://bit.ly/howtovsm, for a video overview of Elaine and Carlo’s tutoring session click.)