Talk, listen and keep me company: a mixed methods analysis of children's perspectives towards robot reading companions

Nathan Caruana, Ryssa Moffat, Aitor Miguel-Blanco, Emily S. Cross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The potential for robots as an education support tool is being rapidly realized. However, much of the existing research with education robots has involved studies which arbitrarily select robots for interventions without a foundational understanding of the features that make them best suited to serve and meet the expectations and needs of users. This study explored how children's perceptions, expectations and experiences were shaped by aesthetic and functional features during interactions with three different, commercially-available robot 'reading buddies'. We collected a range of quantitative and qualitative measures of subjective experience before and after children read a book with a robot of their choice. Overall, our findings indicated that social robots do indeed show strong potential to promote reading engagement in children. This was supported by robot features that signaled the perception of robots as intelligent, literate and attentive. Such features included the robot's ability to speak and react to the story plot in a way that was both emotionally- and temporally-appropriate, so as to engage but not distract children when reading. As such, controlling the timing of robot animations during reading activities - either using human-control methods or automation - presents a key challenge in realizing the effective deployment of robots to promote reading engagement in children, particularly for those who experience reading difficulty and associated reading anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHAI 2022
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 10th Conference on Human-Agent Interaction
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781450393232
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventInternational Conference on Human-Agent Interaction (10th : 2022) - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 5 Dec 20228 Dec 2022


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human-Agent Interaction (10th : 2022)
Abbreviated titleHAI ’22
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


  • first impressions
  • reading
  • social robotics
  • technology-assisted education


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