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Microsoft’s Immersive Reader is a little-known learning tool introduced earlier this year that aims to improve users’ reading and can help with common learning disabilities like dyslexia. As the app continues to become available on more programs and in more languages, we wanted to offer a breakdown of what exactly it does.
What Is Immersive Reader?
Immersive Reader enhances your experience with Microsoft products aiming to improve reading fluency, comprehension, word recognition, and focus. It does this by reading text aloud using text-to-speech technology and highlighting verbs, nouns, and adjectives in different colors so you can get a better understanding of how each sentence is broken down.
Microsoft provides the following list of ways in which Immersive Reader can help Windows users:
- Read Aloud — Reads text aloud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
- Spacing — Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users who suffer from visual crowding issues.
- Syllables — Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
- Parts of Speech — Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.
It’s available in almost 30 languages including Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish. Languages that will be available later this summer are Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, and Brazilian Portuguese.
How Can You Use It?
Right now, Immersive Reader is available to use in the following programs:
- Microsoft Edge
- Office Lens for iPhone
- OneNote Desktop (as an Add-In)
- OneNote Online
- Outlook Web
- Word Desktop
- Word Online
You can actually play around with the tool online before using it in the programs where it’s available. The online Try It Now tool will walk you through the features available.
Here’s how to use it:
- Word 2016 & Online — Go to View > Read Mode. The interface will change with just three menu items: File, Tools, and View. Immersive Reader tools are under View. You can highlight syllables, have the text read aloud, and adjust text spacing.
- OneNote Online — Go to the View tab and click Immersive Reader. You will have the same features viewable in the Try it Now tool.
- OneNote Desktop — After you install the add-in, click Immersive Reader, and you will have the same features viewable in the Try It Now tool.
What do you think of Microsoft’s Immersive Reader tool? What other useful reading, writing, and comprehension tools do you find useful to use online? Let us know in the comments.