Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways to learn to read. When a student self-selects a text that sparks curiosity, joy, or invites them into a story-filled world, they actively engage in complex processes found in standards-aligned frameworks for reading. Choosing what to read also boosts confidence and increases the likelihood that students will continue to read. Equally as important, students who are intrinsically motivated to read and spend more time doing so have higher reading comprehension scores.

Classrooms and families across the nation will celebrate the joy of reading during Read Across America Day on March 2, 2023. This daylong event encourages more students to read for pleasure by exploring stories and articles that generate excitement and spark their interest. Educators will expose students to different genres, use different mediums like books and digital texts, and even host costume-themed events celebrating famous literary characters like the Cat in the Hat–all with the purpose of instilling excitement around reading.

From tools that support reading comprehension to unique Flip events, Microsoft offers a range of opportunities to excite students and keep them reading all year long.

Use Immersive Reader to do more with digital text

Online resources like encyclopedias, news outlets, and even video-sharing websites often contain complex paragraphs, unknown vocabulary, and irrelevant information like ads. This presents problems for struggling readers and pre-readers. Not only do they need to understand what they are reading but they also must decide what parts deserve their focus.

On Read Across America Day, introduce students to Immersive Reader in the Edge browser so that they can easily understand digital text on any topic they might choose. Designed with input from reading experts, Immersive Reader includes options that let students choose the specific kinds of support they need. This includes:

  • Automatically reading and highlighting words on a page
  • Controlling the reading pace
  • Removing distractions on a webpage to focus attention on the text
  • Adjusting size, font, and color of text so that words are easier to see
  • Translating text into over 60 languages

Opening Immersive Reader in Edge and reading aloud content on a web page

With Immersive Reader, students can understand almost any text on their own. It automatically transforms the content into a simplified display with options for reading aloud all the words. Immersive Reader also offers a built-in picture dictionary, grammar tools, and syllable demarcation for students who want differing levels of independent reading support. Students control their reading experience with Immersive Reader which increases self-agency and boosts confidence.

Amber Raftery, a sixth-grade teacher in Kent School District (WA), is a staunch advocate for Immersive Reader because it makes learning more accessible and equitable for her students. Amber says:

“I think when we've got kids that need different support mechanisms to learn, the Microsoft assisted learning tools become really, really vital. Last year, I had a student that had dysgraphia and dyslexia and so being able to listen to the audio was necessary and the Immersive Reader was essential for the success of this student.”

Immersive Reader is not just for students with reading difficulties. Pre-readers also benefit from its text-to-speech capabilities. According to Amanda Young, Program Manager at Wichita Public Schools:

“When our teachers discover things like Immersive Reader and learn how it helps, they realize it helps not just students with reading troubles. It’s excellent for all the students. Our littlest learners need those accessibility tools, too, not because they have a learning difference, but because they don’t know how to read or write yet. Their teachers see Immersive Reader and they tell us, ‘This is amazing. I can’t read the story to each individual kid, but this can help.’”

Additionally, Immersive Reader helps students read text in popular Microsoft 365 applications like Word, OneNote, and Teams as well as favorites like Minecraft Education and Flip. Teachers like Amber Gonzalez at Sawyer Elementary School in the Kent School District believe that Immersive Reader’s availability across so many programs is a critical contributor to reading growth.

“It's easy for students to have an Immersive Reader button built in and available in every program or on every website—that is huge for my students and for me teaching students with different abilities.”

Reading Coach in Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader display introducing Reading Coach and showing how to turn on the feature, record a read aloud, access reading reports, and practice mispronounced words

Students also have new ways to use Immersive Reader with the integration of Reading Coach into the tool. Reading Coach in Immersive Reader allows students to independently practice their fluency and vocabulary development with advanced speech-to-text capabilities. Activation is easy: A simple toggle switches Immersive Reader from read aloud mode to a reading assistant that listens and analyzes students’ speech while they read. It assesses what’s being read and delivers details on accuracy, words per minute, mispronunciations, and time spent reading. Best of all, Reading Coach in Immersive Reader allows students to take ownership over reading instruction because it does not require an educator to follow along.

Look for Reading Coach in Immersive Reader within Word, OneNote, Teams Assignments, Flip, and Minecraft Education with more applications to come!

Learn from the Princess in Black creators on Flip

Princess in Black Flip event flyer featuring headshots of authors Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham

You're invited to a royal ball with the authors and illustrator of the wildly popular Princess in Black series on March 2nd! The ball begins at 10AM PST.

Grab your superhero disguise or your finest costume and join us to celebrate Read Across America Day. Get to know our favorite monster-fighting princess, Magnolia, and her fellow masked superheroes. The creators will discuss the history of the Princess in Black and introduce readers to their newest book in the series, The Princess in Black and the Prince in Pink. Plus, learn how to draw the Princess in Black from illustrator LeUyen Pham!

Register for this free, one-of-a-kind event.

Celebrate the joy of reading on Read Across America Day by joining a fun Flip event or showing students how Immersive Reader can help them confidently approach whatever text that they choose to read.