This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

SimBuilder Science: An Approach to Enhancing Reading Literacy Through Visual Programming




Williams, Alexandria

Type of Degree



Computer Science and Software Engineering


Reading literacy has been a major problem for American students for the past several years. Educators have struggled to find a solution to this problem that will help students while at the same time maintain their interest in the subject matter. Educational video games and other e-learning technologies have made there way into classrooms and homes all around the world as an innovative solution to children’s learning deficiencies. This study suggests that the Squeak SimBuilder e-learning technology can be used to enhance reading literacy in a group of fourth and fifth grade students. The SimBuilder Science Project came into existence as an outreach program which uses visual programming to assist in enhancing reading literacy. Solving a science challenge was the overall goal for the students in the program, while reading science articles and writing related journal responses allowed the students to unknowingly improve reading comprehension and writing skills. An experiment was conducted and results were compiled based on an ongoing assessment of the students and a final survey. A careful analysis of the experimental data reveals that it is possible for Squeak SimBuilder to be effectively used as a tool to help improve reading literacy. To explain these results, a summarized discussion is given. Moreover, conclusions of this research are presented and future work that aims to improve the SimBuilder Science Project is also included.