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  • Writer's pictureKojo Hazel

Immersive Reader

As the world becomes more aware of people’s diverse learning needs, software must become more accessible to users. Enter Immersive reader from Microsoft. Immersive Reader is an inclusively designed tool that improves reading comprehension by embedding text reading and comprehension capabilities into applications. Immersive reader is proven to increase comprehension, attention, and confidence and was designed with the learning needs of dyslexic people in mind and thus is an extremely beneficial accessibility tool for a wide range of learning differences. Immersive Reader is free to educators and students and is built into all Office 365 products.


Reading

Immersive Reader helps readers build confidence, by breaking down content into more manageable chunks. Words are broken down into syllables and highlighted as they're read. What's more, you can change the colour of words according to their grammar.

For people who struggle with concentration, Immersive Reader can be put into focus mode or line focus to take away distractions. Background, text colour, and font spacing can also be changed to mitigate sensory overload and increase attention-spans and comprehension.

Further, Immersive Reader has text-to-speech capabilities built into the service. It can read one word, phrase, or an entire document, depending on your need.


Translation

Immersive Reader is a great tool for new language learners, as it has real-time translation built into the service. Translation is available in 80 languages, and learners can translate specific words or phrases or an entire document. Further, Immersive Reader has a picture dictionary, which also includes translation services, and a read aloud function to help learners with pronouncing of new words.



When to use Immersive Reader

Because of its integration with so many apps and software’s, Immersive Reader is accessible anytime, anywhere. I have found it particularly useful for teaching both in the classroom and online where utilising the various tools has prevented my learners form falling behind, as it allows them to set the pace for their own learning.


Increasing accessibility

Immersive Reader increases accessibility for people with visual impairments or sensory processing disorders. These visual difficulties can include problems with light sensitivity, colour-blindness, difficulty focusing on a line of text, poor vision, or visual fatigue, which can all make reading on a screen difficult.


Having the option to adjust colours, text size, and font spacing, or listen to the text rather than read it, can make a big difference in user retention and ease. What’s more, being able to use focus mode can help prevent people with processing difficulties from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.


Where and how to access Immersive Reader


Immersive reader is integrated into all Office 365 applications and can usually be found in the toolbar under the view tab. This incredible tool is now also being embedded into the software of a whole host of other popular applications such as Flipgrid and Wakelet and is also available with anything accessed form a Microsoft Edge browser. Immersive Reader is also integrated into mobile apps, a real winner for the modern learner. If you see the logo below; it means that the software or app has Immersive Reader integrated.



Immersive reader with Chromebooks

Immersive reader can be used on Chromeboks by installing the free extension. After installing the extension users highlight the text they want read and right click. From the right click choosing “Help me read this” launches the immersive reader.



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