Poor student engagement with academic readings has been frequently reported in college classrooms. As an effort to improve college students’ reading engagement, researchers have developed a virtual environment in which students take on the role of tutor and teach a virtual tutee, the virtual tutee system (VTS). This research examined the effectiveness of the VTS for enhancing students’ academic reading motivation, engagement, and performance. Two groups of college students were compared: students who used the VTS and those who used an online reading guide (RG). Both quantitative and qualitative data were used to acquire a better understanding of reading motivation and engagement. The study found that students in the VTS group engaged in a deep level of cognitive processing when they completed the reading assignments. They also exhibited a higher reading performance than students in the RG group. These findings imply that teaching and interacting with a virtual tutee promotes students’ deep engagement in reading activities. The paper discusses study limitations and suggestions for future research.
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