Do it Yourself: Video Self Modeling Made Easy

Elaine, a tutor, and Carlo, a fourth-grader sit at a table with a laptop on it. They discuss the book that Carlo is about to read. Carlo has chosen the book, from a set of pre-selected books at his instructional level. Elaine and Carlo discuss the cover of the book before starting to read. Then, they read a few pages of the book in unison. After two minutes of unison reading, Elaine reaches over to the laptop and starts a video recording of the upcoming portion of the tutoring session.

When Carlo first sat down at the table, Elaine ensured that the laptop’s camera has 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 built in microphone of the laptop.

Elaine records Carlo as he echo-reads the passage they just finished reading in unison. Elaine reads a sentence, modeling pace and prosody, and Carlo reads the sentence, repeating after her. When Carlo stumbles on a word, Elaine says “let’s try that one again” and models the sentence for him again in order to give Carlo a chance to read each sentence without errors. After echo-reading the passage, she stops the video recording and asks Carlo to re-read the passage aloud independently. When he finishes reading, she praises his efforts and asks him a few questions to check his comprehension about the passage. They play a short ‘memory game’ to reinforce new or challenging vocabulary in the passage. After this, Elaine sends Carlo back to class and spends about 10 minutes editing the video that was recorded during the echo-reading portion of the tutoring session.

This scenario describes the essence of a simple and short process of using video self modeling (VSM) to help a student gain proficiency with reading fluency and comprehension. Elaine will create a self-modeling video for Carlo to watch the next day when they meet again to continue reading the book. Elaine will edit out the portions of the video of the echo reading process that contain her voice and leave only video and audio of Carlo’s fluent repetition of each sentence.

The following day, Carlo will watch the edited VSM video of himself reading the passage without errors, allowing him the opportunity to see himself reading with fluency that he does n­ot have when he reads independently. Carlo will watch these self model videos before each tutoring sessions over the next few weeks. Elaine and Carlo will repeat the process described in each subsequent 30-minute tutoring session, practicing reading, doing a few comprehension and vocabulary exercises and creating a short video that portrays Carlo’s targeted reading skills.