Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Introducing Reading Coach for personalized practice, and other major updates to Reading Progress

Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams has helped educators check reading fluency more frequently and therefore differentiate more powerfully to support students on their fluency journey. Educators using Reading Progress seem the most surprised to see how it motivates their students to try multiple times and work independently to increase their scores – they are invested in their progress as readers! To expand on that enthusiasm, we’ve been hard at work creating Reading Coach!


Introducing Reading Coach

With the launch of Reading Progress in August of 2021, came an influx of educator stories about the excitement that’s been generated for students. Instead of feeling nervous when it’s time to do fluency checks, students feel empowered – especially through seeing their progress over time. To extend independent practice opportunities and build scaffolds for students to pursue their reading goals, we’ve been busy creating Reading Coach! Reading Coach builds on Reading Progress by identifying the 5 words each individual student struggled with the most and presenting them again with tools to support the learner in practicing independently. Based on educator preferences, tools available to students can include text to speech, syllable breaking, and picture dictionary. These supports can be enabled and customized by the educator, who sets up the Reading Coach when a Reading Progress assignment in Teams is created.




Educators can customize the Reading Coach when setting up a Reading Progress assignment

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After students practice in Reading Coach, educators can view their work as they review the Reading Progress assignment. Educators can see which words the student practiced, how many attempts they made, and what tools they used – information that can easily be shared with the student through the Return to Student options.  Data from Reading Coach will also be available in Insights to inform your teaching strategies. Reading Coach in Teams will start rolling out this spring!


Reading Coach in Immersive Reader

To honor learners’ excitement about reading, we’ve also been working to integrate Reading Coach into Immersive Reader across several M365 apps. This will enable students to independently practice reading content they are motivated by!  Students will be able to practice reading out loud at home or at school, with Immersive Reader supports and personalized feedback using the same Reading Coach that will be in Teams.  When the student finishes using Reading Coach in Immersive Reader, a small report, similar to PowerPoint Presenter Coach reports, will be revealed to the student; providing feedback, allowing them to track their personal progress, and offering the ability to share the work they completed.  Reading Coach in Immersive Reader will be available in apps such as Word Online, OneNote, Teams, Forms, and many other places in M365.

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Exciting updates for Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams

 We’re grateful for opportunities to listen to educators and students – you help us make our products better! With input from you and top reading experts, we’ve begun developing additional Reading Progress tools that will support reading fluency.


Prosody – Reading with Expression

Reading fluency is composed of three pillars – reading speed, accuracy, and expression.  The initial version of Reading Progress uses auto-detect to help track reading speed and accuracy, but historically an educator needs to listen to each student independently to gauge their expression


With our forthcoming Prosody update, Reading Progress will have the capacity to automatically determine the aspects of prosody, including monotone reading, long pauses, not pausing for a period or comma, voice inflection for question marks or exclamation points, and even the stress of multi-syllable words.  Student prosody results will be available in the teacher review experience, alongside accuracy and correct words per minute.  Later on, this information will be added to the student’s view of their returned work and incorporated in Insights so it can be easily monitored over time. Prosody updates will begin rolling out to Reading Progress in late spring.



Actionable Insights

Fluency data from Reading Progress is collected in Insights to support educators in taking evidence-based action for literacy in their classrooms. Education Insights dashboards help visualize progress and trends such as accuracy rate, correct words per minute, mispronunciations, omissions, and insertions.


To save educators even more time and help personalize assignments for reading level or even individually, today we are enabling Actionable Insights! This new feature allows an educator to create a new Reading Progress “Challenge assignment” with a single click, directly from the Insights dashboard. 


For example, an educator might be looking at the Challenging Words cloud in the Education Insights dashboard to identify mispronounced words and add them to their vocabulary wall. With Actionable Insights, now the educator can click “Create challenge assignment” directly from the dashboard, and a new Reading Progress assignment will be created and pre-populated with the top 10 most challenging words from the word cloud, ready to assign to the class.  Educators can also use this same feature with a single student, or grouped by reading level, creating a personalized word lists that reinforce their vocabulary and fluency efforts!

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Phonics Rules added to Education Insights Dashboards

We know how important it is to start with the fundamentals, that’s why we’re building Insights dashboards that will reflect students’ understanding of phonics rules. Our Reading Progress auto-detect software has the ability to analyze each word at the phoneme level and give an accuracy rating per phoneme.  We have mapped these phoneme scores onto a set of phonics rules that we can surface to the educator in order help inform instruction.  Because there are many phonics rules in the English language, we’ve categorized these into consonants and vowels, and then sub-categories in each area.  Phonics rules will first be rolled out in English.


These phonics rules dashboards will allow an educator to see which areas need additional focus at the class or student level at a glance.  In addition, we will be adding an Actionable Insights component to these dashboards, which will allow an educator to create personalized Reading Progress assignments of words to practice based on the phonics rules accuracy in a single click.  Phonics rules dashboards will be added to Reading Progress Insights later this spring.

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Auto-detect coming to 67 more languages and locales

Starting today, auto detect is available in 67 additional languages and locales, bringing the total to over 100 supported.  A note that auto-detect is in preview, and still being improved.  To see the full list of over 100 languages, please visit this support page.


Mobile improvements for students and educators

Later this week, we will begin rolling out student video recording for iOS and Android devices when doing a Reading Progress assignment. Later this spring we will add the ability for educators to create and review Reading Progress assignments from iOS and Android devices. This is a top requested feature that we are actively working to provide. 

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Customize the feedback you share with students

In November, we rolled out the top-requested Return to Student feature in Reading Progress, which allows educators to choose which type of report to return to the student after the teacher has reviewed the fluency passage.  This report lets students watch their video, see which errors they made, and hear the correct way to pronounce words. The two initial report options for the educator were the full report or simplified report.  Today, we have rolled out a 3rd option, which allows the educator to fully customize the report for the student. Educators can customize any component of the report, helping to meet the specific needs of each learner.  Check out the customization options in the example below. 

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Return for Revision improvements

We’ve made improvements to the student experience when an educator returns a Reading Progress assignment for revision.  For example, if a teacher would like the student to try Reading Progress passage again, but first look through where they can improve, they now have the ability to make the passage, review the student’s work, and return it for revision. The student will now have access to the fully marked up passage so they can learn from their mistakes!  Then the student can redo and resubmit the reading fluency passage.  This improved flow is fully rolled out today.


Pick OneNote Class Notebook pages as reading passages

Currently, educators can pick reading passages from ReadWorks, a Teams file, OneDrive, or uploading from their computer.  We have now added the ability to pick a page from a OneNote Class Notebook in your Class Teams! This will be rolling out starting today and finish next week.



Use Education Insights Premium to view school and district-wide fluency data

School leaders have frequently requested the ability to view reading data across a broader segment of a grade, school or system.  With the recently released Education Insights Premium offering, schools can now upgrade and get rich capabilities to drill down from the highest perspective all they way into a grade or classroom.  Education Insights Premium gives informative views of reading accuracy and speed, the number of reading fluency assignments happening, and even aggregated data on challenging words.  We’ve added our first set of reports to Education Insights Premium, with many more coming in the future.  School systems can also take this reading data and export it into Power BI or other data analysis tools.

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“Reading Progress is built on the solid scientific foundation of oral repeated reading and close monitoring by the educator. It allows educators to provide personal attention to each student while at the same time dealing with a whole classroom full of students.” — Tim Rasinski, Professor of Literacy Education at Kent State University


With the introduction of Reading Coach and continued evolution of Reading Progress, we hope to maintain students’ excitement for reading and support educators in their goal to support every student in their fluency goals.

And for those of you that like lists, here are the updates we’re announcing today, along with the expected dates each will be available.

Available this week

  • Actionable Insights
  • Customizable student reports in Reading Progress
  • Return for Revision for Reading Progress assignments
  • Pick a Reading Progress passage from a OneNote Class Notebook page
  • 67 new languages and locales for Reading Progress auto-detect (bringing the total to over 100)
  • Insights Premium reports for Reading Progress

Coming this Spring (Northern hemisphere)

  • Reading Coach in Reading Progress
  • Prosody in Reading Progress
  • Phonics Rules Insights dashboards
  • iOS and Android video recording for Reading Progress assignments
  • Create Reading Progress Assignments from iOS and Android

Coming this Summer (Northern hemisphere)

  • Reading Coach in Immersive Reader


Mike Tholfsen
Group Product Manager
Microsoft Education





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