If you and your students are using Microsoft tools such as MS Teams, WordOnline or Flipgrid in a virtual classroom environment or as stand-alone tools in the classroom, there is a text-to-speech tool called Immersive Reader that is integrated into these products.
This is what Immersive Reader does in these Microsoft tools:
When students are writing in WordOnline, they can use Immersive Reader to help them write by listening to the text. They can listen to words or full sentences. Sometimes its easier to hear writing errors rather than see them.
Other great features for student support in Immersive Reader are the language supports for reading that are available. Students are able to highlight parts of speech in different colours in the document, as well as turn on syllables. This feature splits words by showing small dots between syllables, which can be helpful for word recognition and reading fluency.
Additional features are line focus, which can allow students to more easily visually track the text and minimize distractions, as well as the translate feature. This feature can translate not only single words but a whole document, which might be useful for second language learners.
Immersive Reader is also available in Microsoft Word on your computer (local version).
See this video on how to use Immersive Reader in WordOnline as an EMSB student or family (approx. 9 minutes)
See this video on how to use immersive Reader in Word from Microsoft (approx. 18 minutes)
What’s important to realize when using MS Teams is that students can listen to text:
- in the “Assignments” tab (however please note, Immersive Reader currently does not read any attached PDFs, only attached WordOnline documents that the teacher has created and posted).
- In the “posts” tab (helpful for listening to other students’ comments, teachers instructions, etc.)
See this video on how to use Immersive Reader in MS Teams as an EMSB student or family (approx. 7 minutes)
See this video for an overview of using Immersive Reader in Teams from Microsoft. (approx. 2 minutes)
Other places you’ll find immersive reader
Flipgrid-Flipgrid is a video response tool that can be easily integrated in MS Teams or can be used as a stand-alone tool. See this video for how to use immersive reader in Flipgrid.
Wonderopolis-Wonderopolis is a place to access “essential questions” that students are wondering about, by providing informational content that is really engaging! Its excellent that immersive Reader is included in the platform so that students can listen to the articles with the tool.