In today’s tip, I want to bring your attention to a new feature in Word Online, the web browser-based version of Microsoft Word available to the UP community through Office 365. This new feature, called the Immersive Reader View, can boost inclusivity in your classroom by providing features specifically designed to enhance readability for those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD.
Beyond use as an assistive technology, Immersive View can help any reader who may benefit from larger text or a more muted color scheme to reduce eyestrain. It can even be used to easily read the contents of a Word doc aloud. I personally have found this incredibly handy and have used it to do “audio-proofreads” of my own writing. This has helped me to catch mistakes I might otherwise miss when proofing.
This tool is well worth exploring. You may find a compelling use for it yourself, or be able to make a crucial intervention for a student who is struggling with the reading in your course.
Read and Write Gold
Read and Write Gold is a similar application that can be used to “read aloud” content from PDFs or websites. It is available for any UP student or staff/faculty through the UP Download Center.
Feature List for Word Online Immersive Reader
- A Read Aloud feature reads text out loud with simultaneous highlighting improves decoding, fluency, and comprehension while sustaining focus and attention.
- A Text Spacing feature optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users who suffer from “visual crowding” issues.
- A Syllabification feature shows the breaks between syllables to improve word recognition and decoding.
- A Parts of Speech feature supports instruction and improves writing quality by identifying verbs, nouns, and adjectives.
OneNote users on PC can download the Learning Tools add-in that provides similar functionality in Microsoft OneNote.