For educators who use Microsoft Teams, the free ‘Reading Progress’ tool could help students build confidence and reading fluency by providing personalised reading experiences.
Reading Has Suffered In The Pandemic
In the UK, the tenth Annual Literacy Survey from the National Literacy Trust showed that some children and young people found that a lack of access to books (with schools and libraries closed), a lack of quiet space at home, and a lack of school/peer support had negatively affected their ability to read and their motivation to read for enjoyment. Also, in January, a National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) survey found that there was a Covid-19 gap of around two months’ progress for both reading and maths and that there was a reading attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils of 7 months. Another more recent UK poll has found that most schools have said that primary pupils are three or more months behind with reading following the pandemic.
Not Just In The UK
In the U.S., a Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) survey showed that reading skills among young students stalled during the pandemic leaving reading fluency among second and third grade students roughly 30 percent behind what would be expected in a typical year. One of the major concerns about this statistic is that problems with reading fluency can interfere with students’ ability to learn other subjects.
Could ‘Reading Progress’ Help?
Microsoft’s free Reading Progress app, built into Assignments in Microsoft Teams, could be one way to help. The app enables pupils to record themselves reading aloud in an environment that is comfortable for them.
As well as removing the stresses of reading in public, the app enables them to get private and personal feedback, automatically from within the app and from staff, and to get targeted support. The Reading Progress app can, therefore, show pupils where they are going wrong so that they can practice and build confidence in their reading ability. This could potentially translate into a way to tackle challenges like a lack of reading fluency.
Get A Snapshot of Reading Progress
It has been reported that in the UK, The Portsmouth Academy, for example, has been able to use Reading Progress to get an accurate snapshot of where their students’ reading abilities were following the pandemic lockdowns.
Features and Benefits
Some of the features and benefits of Microsoft’s Reading Progress are that it:
- Allows educators to do fluency checks more frequently, with less classroom disruption.
- Gives educators the ability to select students from their class to assign distinct passages based on their reading levels or interests, thereby enabling more focused help.
- Can save time by using Auto-detect for AI-powered estimations of student errors.
- Provides a dashboard to help identify trends and plan for effective teaching.