Microsoft's Immersive Reader
1. What is Immersive Reader?
It’s a free literacy tool developed by Microsoft. It is helpful to beginning readers, students with learning difficulties, students struggling to understand poetic literature that’s rife with similes and metaphors, and students who are learning a foreign language.
2. What can IR do?
It can dynamically change the column size of text and adjust spacing between words. It provides various page colors to make text stand out. It can syllabicate words, adjust margin size, and focus on one or more lines at a time. It can highlight and label various parts of speech. It can translate languages. It can add pictures to text. And it can look up definitions of words.
3. What do students see when entering the IR platform?
On their screen they’ll see the story or poem they have selected as well as four headings on the toolbar above it.
4. Which Reading preferences are there?
Under Reading preferences students see a dialog box with three headings. Line Focus that shows one, three, or five lines, a Picture Dictionary, that provides a picture of certain words whenever a magic wand touches one, Translate that can translate text into a multitude of languages.
5. Can the Web and the Sidebar be accessed?
Yes, any word except those under the "spell" of the magic wand can be seen by clicking either "Search the web for [the word]" or "Search the sidebar for [the word]." Below is an example of how helpful this feature can be when we click on "Bedouin" in Story 254 below.
6. What are the specific Grammar tools?
The two Grammar tools provided are Syllables, and Parts of Speech. Syllables gives the student the option to syllabicate an entire passage at once. Parts of Speech identifies nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, labeling them in color with abbreviations.
7. What are the kinds of Text preferences?
The Text preferences are Text size, Text Spacing, Choice of fonts, and Choice of Page Themes.
You can keep the text the normal size or make it so big that it can barely fit on a page. You have the choice to add more space between words. You have three fonts to choose from: Calibri, Sitka, and Comic Sans. And you are given the choice of twenty-three Page Themes or page colors.
8. What function does Read aloud have?
Read aloud has no function other than to activate the TTS voice and highlight text as it is being read.
9. Can you change the TTS voice?
Not initially, but after the first reading when "Voice options" become available you can.
10. How do you put a story on the platform?
As depicted below, merely select a story with your mouse, right click on it and choose "Open selection in Immersive Reader."
11. How do you translate languages?
Under Reading preferences, click the rectangular box that shows some language within it. As you do a pop-up menu appears from which you make your selection. Next, you click the sliding ball that says, “Translate entire page” opposite of it.
12. How many languages does IR support?
It can translate text in roughly 80 languages. Of this number, some 50-60 percent are audible.
13. Do the Reading preferences, Grammar tools, and Text preferences work with all languages, or just English?
Besides English, the Picture dictionary and the Grammar tools, work with German, Spanish, Swedish, French, Danish, Dutch, Finish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian. The Text preferences, however, work with all languages.
14. When you're through listening to a story in one language, can you listen to it in another language?
Yes, and it's simple to do! You merely click the translate box under Reading preferences. This feature is extremely helpful to students learning a second language.
15. How do you refresh the screen so you can look at another story?
Either click "Ctrl + R" or "Refresh" from the drop-down menu.
16. How do you exit IR?
There are three ways: by right clicking on the text page then left clicking on “Exit Immersive Reader,” by clicking F9 on the keyboard, or by clicking on the Immersive Reaer icon on the second toolbar from the top.
17. Which memberships have access to IR?
There are three memberships: Turquoise Membership having Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes, Diamond Membership having Fables, and Palladium Membership having Multilinguals.
A Story Opened on Immersive Reader Platform
Multilinguals in English can be translated once put on the IR platform. Likewise, a foreign language can be put on the IR platform, then translated to English or any other language.