iSTART: Interactive strategy training for active reading and thinking

Danielle S. McNamara, Irwin B. Levinstein, Chutima Boonthum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


Interactive Strategy Training for Active Reading and Thinking (iSTART) is a Web-based application that provides young adolescent to college-age students with high-level reading strategy training to improve comprehension of science texts. iSTART is modeled after an effective, human-delivered inter-vention called self-explanation reading training (SERT), which trains readers to use active reading strategies to self-explain difficult texts more effectively. To make the training more widely available, the Web-based trainer has been developed. Transforming the training from a human-delivered application to a computer-based one has resulted in a highly interactive trainer that adapts its methods to the performance of the students. The iSTART trainer introduces the strategies in a simulated class-room setting with interaction between three animated characters-an instructor character and two student characters-and the human trainee. Thereafter, the trainee identifies the strategies in the explanations of a student character who is guided by an instructor character. Finally, the trainee practices self-explanation under the guidance of an instructor character. We describe this system and discuss how appropriate feedback is generated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-233
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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