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Enhance Comprehension with the Microsoft Immersive Reader

Online Learning Support

The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a free tool compatible with your favorite apps, and it’s already installed in Canvas for use by you and your students. It improves the reading experience by giving users the flexibility and support they need to focus on comprehension and grammar skills. You’ll love it because of its availability, ease of use, and the support it provides to readers. In today’s blog, we discuss how to take advantage of the Microsoft Immersive Reader to enhance learning in and outside of the classroom.

So, what does the Microsoft Immersive Reader do to help readers confidently break down literacy barriers?

For instructors and students, the Microsoft Immersive Reader enhances the reading experience by improving accessibility and boosting reading comprehension. You can use the Microsoft Immersive Reader when viewing the Course Home Page or Syllabus or when viewing an individual assignment or page. To illustrate its features, this post explores how to use the Microsoft Immersive Reader to improve student outcomes in Canvas. However, much of the tool’s functionality remains the same whether you’re in OneNote, Microsoft Edge, or Canvas.

Where is it available? OneNote. Word. Outlook. Other.

Ease of Use

The interactive reading tool allows users to:

  • Update Text Options
    • Change text size
    • Decide spacing between letters (also known as kerning)
    • Change the font
    • Alter background color
  • Highlight Parts of Speech
    • Nouns
    • Verbs
    • Adjectives
    • Adverbs
    • View syllables
  • Customize Reading Preference
    • Line Focus (one, three, or five lines at a time)
    • Picture Dictionary (for unfamiliar words)
    • Translate (for non-native English speakers)

Inside Canvas

Within Canvas, you can access the interactive tool using a button titled Immersive Reader at the top right of Pages, Assignments, Home Page, and the Syllabus link in every Canvas course shell. Clicking the button opens a full screen reading experience that removes additional coloring, images, and videos to improve focus.

After you’ve selected the Immersive Reader feature, the tool will display a variety of options to enhance your reading experience. You can manage the text size and font preference of the screen, as well as grammar, language, and reading preference. To activate the page text reader, click the Play button in the middle of the screen. To close the reader and return to Canvas, click the Exit button.

Improved Reading Comprehension

So, for example, if you’re having trouble reading text in Canvas you might have the tool read it to you or try adjusting the size of text to make it more accessible to you. Additionally, dyslexic students struggling to keep up due to learning differences might find that Microsoft Immersive Reader is the tool they need to level the playing field. According to Microsoft, “In the U.S. alone, 2.5 million students have learning disabilities—such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia—that can affect their academic performance and progress and can contribute to emotional struggles.” However, everyone stands to benefit from improved focus and reading comprehension.

Do you struggle with English grammar?

The confidence boost from increased accessibility encourages a love of reading in students of all ages and abilities. Using the grammar options, students can help break down parts of speech to make it easier to digest. For instance, each part of speech has its own color to avoid confusion, but labels are also available for those that do not prefer or cannot interpret color. You can turn these on and off as needed. Additionally, when Picture Dictionary is enabled, some words show a visual, which is especially helpful to multi-lingual students studying in a second language.

Are you looking to focus while reading?

If you enjoy audiobooks, or aren’t sure how to pronounce a word, you can adjust the sound and speed of the voice that reads to you to match your comfort level. Speaking of multi-lingual, you can find translations for the language you’re most familiar with and have the immersive reader translate either individual words or the entire page. If you’d like, you can listen to the text in another language by choosing to translate “by document”. Finally, the third tab limits how much text readers see at once so they’re able to focus. For some of your students this is a productivity game changer and no-doubt a feature they’ll quickly fall in love with.

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