An expanded literacy portfolio of reading programs and tools to reach every learner
While educators around the world focus on accelerating learning for all, the pandemic continues to widen preexisting achievement gaps, hitting the most vulnerable students the hardest. Digital reading tools and reading programs help ensure that all learners can explore their full potential. Literacy solutions designed with the intention of addressing a diverse set of student needs make them better for everyone.1 All students deserve equitable opportunities to develop strong literacy skills for success in and beyond the classroom, and teachers deserve more support in helping their students reach these goals. Today, we’re pleased to announce the new Reading Coach experience in Microsoft Teams and updates to Reading Progress designed to help provide the best support for all learners.
Introducing Reading Coach
Reading fluency, the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and meaningful expression, remains an integral component of academic success and future outcomes.2 It’s importance to word recognition and building a deeper understanding of the text is also essential for cultivating strong literacy skills. Reading Coach is a reading fluency practice tool for students that automatically generates individualized exercises based on each student's specific needs. This new offering complements our current portfolio of tools supporting students in developing critical literacy skills, including Reading Progress, Education Insights, Immersive Reader, and more. Once a student uploads a Reading Progress assignment, Reading Coach automatically identifies words that the student struggled with and creates additional opportunities for practice. The new feature provides guidance on the correct pronunciation and syllabification, shares visuals to help vocabulary recall, and positively reinforces students to help build their confidence as readers. Reading Coach and Reading Progress work in tandem to help teachers provide just-in-time support, saving more time for teachers to focus on the development of each student academically and emotionally.3
Included in our efforts to improve literacy for all ages and abilities, the launch of Reading Progress came with Immersive Reader technology last July. We’re excited to share that Reading Coach will come built into Immersive Reader, our free reading tool that supports equitable education. Now, students at every level can access quality, individualized reading fluency coaching across Microsoft 365 apps. Embedding Reading Coach into Immersive Reader also provides students with literacy solutions and features like Microsoft Translator that offer real time assistance designed to help all students, including English language learners and students with special educational needs, better understand concepts and text.
“Reading Coach is truly a dream come true for teachers, after students are done reading their passage it gives them instantaneous feedback on the words they struggled with the most. Students are then prompted to select the word they want to improve on, and Reading Coach will show step by step how to break the word down by syllables and pronounce each syllable to read fluently. I think it's amazing what we would do in the past with a student when they struggled with a word now can be done with the AI in Reading Coach.” ― Angela Milversted, Instructional Coach, Chino Valley Unified School District.
We’re committed to inclusive learning for the future, not just in theory but also in providing real literacy solutions for all students, teachers, and school administrators. Reading Coach is expected to become available in Teams for Education in time for summer 2022.4
New updates to Reading Progress
I'm thrilled to announce that we're also expanding our portfolio of integrated reading tools with new updates to Reading Progress. The tool helps educators save time by creating individualized reading fluency assignments that help meet student needs with powerful insights easily used to inform instruction. In addition to measuring and identifying correct words per minute, accuracy rates, and challenging words, the newly updated Reading Progress will track all three components of reading fluency with the addition of automatically detecting prosody—the patterns of expression and intonation in a language. Prosody is a key component of reading fluency and is linked to reading comprehension, as fluent and expressive reading can help students build deeper understanding of the text. The new updates will also include support for over 100 languages and more actionable insights. The tool empowers all types of learners to work at their own pace, in a secure and encouraging environment, and helps teachers provide just-in-time support. We’ll also be enabling teachers to see which phonics rules students are struggling with, providing more insights to help inform instruction.5
"Reading Progress is a transformational asset to a teacher's repertoire of tools: and it is also a transformational way for students themselves to actually enjoy and be an active part of advancing their reading lives.” ― Pam Allyn, Literacy Expert.
All students deserve access to tools that are thoughtfully designed to accelerate their growth and development as learners. Today, all schools with an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 license can access what's currently available in Reading Progress for free using Teams Assignments. In summer 2022, we will be launching Reading Coach as well as adding prosody and phonics rules to Reading Progress.6 Learn more about these solutions and how to get started by visiting Microsoft Education.
1 Effects of inclusion on the academic achievement and adaptive behaviour of children with intellectual disabilities. Dessemontet RS, Bless G, Morin D. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2012 Jun;56(6):579-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01497.x. Epub 2011 Nov
4 Northern Hemisphere only
5 English speaking markets only
6 Northern Hemisphere only