BookBuddy: Turning Digital Materials Into Interactive Foreign Language Lessons Through a Voice Chatbot


Digitization of education has brought a tremendous amount of online materials that are potentially useful for language learners to practice their reading skills. However, these digital materials rarely help with conversational practice, a key component of foreign language learning. Leveraging recent advances in chatbot technologies, we developed BookBuddy, a scalable virtual reading companion that can turn any reading material into an interactive conversation-based English lesson. We piloted our virtual tutor with five 6-year-old native Chinese-speaking children currently learning English. Preliminary results suggest that children enjoyed speaking English with our virtual tutoring chatbot and were highly engaged during the interaction.

Proceedings of the Sixth (2019) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale