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Digital tools to improve the reading experience in the classroom and at home

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Almost every teacher has come across this scenario: a child arrives at school not knowing how to read. He has trouble recognizing letters and has trouble with the sounds each letter makes. He has little or no vocabulary of recognizable sight words and has limited interest in books or stories or simply lost interest in reading. The student’s parents and teachers spend more time and use motivational techniques to encourage the student to read. However, he has not yet developed the reading skills that he needs to be able to understand the meaning of the text with the speed, fluency, and comprehension that he needs. This is when technology becomes a great ally.

What child or adolescent does not already have a cell phone, computer, tablet or laptop? So why not take advantage of it and not serve only for other activities that do not contribute almost anything to their education.

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There are several tools to improve the reading habit, one of them is the one offered by Microsoft and is based on reading aloud, one of the first (and most important) literacy practices. It starts from the first years of life and is essential for the cognitive development of people.

Despite all the benefits that this practice brings in the training of boys and girls, navigating time constraints in the classroom while managing a class full of students It is not an easy task for teachers.

This tool is called Reading Progress, it’s free, integrated with Teams tasks, and available in multiple languages. It has been designed to help educators create personalized reading experiences for each student and build reading fluency and confidence in their students. It works across all platforms, including Desktop, Mac, web, iOS, and Android, and reading progress passages are easy to create and differentiate.

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Educators upload a single passage to read aloud, or they can differentiate it for the many levels of their class. Students read their passages aloud, creating a recording that teachers can access to review as they see fit.


Various studies show that daily reading aloud offers multiple benefits such as:

  • Boys and girls who are exposed to this stimulus are almost a full year ahead of their peers who do not receive it. This occurs regardless of their socioeconomic status or cultural background.
  • Fluency, the ability to read accurately, speed, and expression are skills boosted by reading aloud.

“At Microsoft, we believe that everyone can reach their greatest potential. In the educational context, this means that all students deserve to have access to a quality education, which allows them to enhance their skills in a more individual and personalized way. And this is achieved by allowing access to tools that are carefully designed, taking into account differential conditions. 80% of children in Latin America have learning gaps in reading and writing and 10% of the world population has dyslexia, so allowing each person according to their abilities and pace to access quality education becomes an imperative. Reading is the gateway to knowledge and at the same time one of the deepest gaps in Latin American educational systems. Technology makes it possible to understand the specific needs of each student, enable text models (font size, color, images equivalent to words) and, above all, facilitate teaching and empower students as leaders of their own learning process,” he explains. Natalia Jaramillo, director of education for the South Andean region of Microsoft.

Traditionally, monitoring student fluency is irregular and time-consuming because it demands attentive listening one by one, while still managing the activities of the rest of the class. Creating recordings allows educators to check student progress more frequently while freeing up time for active instruction.

Today, tools like reading progress allow students to learn to read more fluently and boost their autonomous learning, says Jaramillo. “At the same time, it makes it easier for teachers to have traceability of student learning. Students can record a video or audio in Teams for the teacher to review later. The tool provides a series of analyzes and data on trends in the classroom, including accuracy, correct words per minute, errors in pronunciation, omissions, and inclusion of words that are not in the text. It also gives the teacher information about the main reading challenges of individual students and the class in general”.

Whether educators use the tool’s auto-discovery feature for a quick review or manually review to spot areas for improvement, Reading Progress collects valuable data on insights (understanding, perception). the panels of Teams Education Insights help visualize the class as a whole as well as individual progress, providing a holistic view of trends and information, including accuracy rate, correct words per minute, most challenging vocabulary, mispronunciations, omissions and insertions .

Teams Education Insights dashboards help visualize the class as a whole and also individual progress (reference image). Photo: Shutterstock

other tool

is also Immersive Reader, a free interactive tool designed to help students improve their reading, comprehension, and grammar skills. It makes texts more accessible to any student, works with the most popular Microsoft programs—from Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to Edge, Teams, and Outlook—and is easy to implement in classrooms, virtual learning, and the classroom. performing chores at home. With a single click, Immersive Reader helps increase student fluency in Spanish, English, and whatever languages ​​it’s configured for. In turn, it helps build confidence in the early years of reading and for those learning a new language.

For the Microsoft expert, reading fluency is understood as the ability to read with speed, accuracy and meaningful expression. This is an integral component of academic success and future results. “Its importance for word recognition and building a deeper understanding of text is also essential for cultivating strong reading skills. In this sense, Microsoft has implemented Reading Coach or Reading Advisor, a tool that allows you to create personalized reading practices by identifying the five words with which each student had the greatest difficulty and offering exercises to reinforce them. Thus, the student can review at home or at school to build confidence and improve their coach reading, gives the student immediate feedback on the recorded reading. Details such as the words that were most difficult for him. Students can select the word that was most difficult and the coach reading will show you step by step how to divide the word by syllables and pronounce it correctly. This tool makes their work easier for teachers, as it allows them to assign reading tasks individually and promote students’ autonomous learning”.

Today, tools like reading progress allow students to learn to read more fluently and boost their autonomous learning. Photo: Microsoft

Immersive Reader It is also very useful to facilitate learning and reading for people with dyslexia or other learning difficulties. “We must transcend the concept of hybrid education, and stop thinking that it is restricted to a remote class or a video call. Hybrid education is to use technology to monitor and improve educational quality, make it accessible to people with disabilities, democratize content so that no one is left behind, facilitate the personalization of learning, take care of the well-being of the student. It is the possibility of broadening learning horizons and empowering students to become leaders of their own educational process,” says Jaramillo.

What are the scope of reading aloud in learning?

It is essential to develop a student’s speaking skills, stresses the Microsoft representative. “In that sense, our tools start with the fundamentals: students’ understanding of phonetic rules. Our software automatic detection, Reading Progress, has the ability to analyze each word at the phoneme level and give an accuracy rating per phoneme in up to 67 languages. In this way, we will provide the greatest feedback students as possible and we will provide more teacher time to focus on helping them improve with accurate data about the learning process.”

This week, from September 21 to 25, the Guayaquil International Book Fair 2022 will take place, so it is one more motivation to generate interest in this practice that should become a habit.

Source: Eluniverso

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