Supporting Readers with Microsoft Immersive Reader and BrainPOP
You may have heard of Microsoft Immersive Reader—a free tool built into popular software like MS Word, OneNote, Outlook, and the Edge web browser to support reading comprehension. This fall, in an effort to serve readers of all levels, BrainPOP (grades 3-8+) now includes Immersive Reader in Quizzes across all topics. This integration will help to improve reading and accessibility for students, and address challenges teachers face in supporting a wide range of reading abilities.
We connected with two educators to learn how they’re leveraging this new feature, and the impact they’re seeing among students.
Comfort in Familiarity
On a recent morning, Hannah Odom, a technology training integration specialist in Cobb County, GA, walked into a middle school library at one of the schools she serves. It was a typical scene. The earth science teacher had set up stations for students to learn about the phases of the Moon, including independently viewing a BrainPOP Movie about eclipses and completing the accompanying Quiz.
But she noticed something new. Students were using Microsoft Immersive Reader while taking the Quiz. Many were already familiar with Immersive Reader from other products, so they knew right away where to click for reading support.
Odom reflected, “It’s just so easy for them to use. Immersive Reader allowed them to work more independently in a group setting. They were able to navigate everything they needed. If they needed to increase the text size, they were quickly able to figure out how to do that on their own and advocate for themselves. If they needed a Picture Dictionary, it shows them how to click on that and use it. I like how it differentiates between all of the needs students have.”
She says this has made teachers more confident about assigning BrainPOP Quizzes to students to complete on their own. “If they don’t know a vocabulary word or they don’t understand a question, they have those built in tools within Immersive Reader to help them.”
Leveling the Playing Field
Georgia Miller, an English Language teacher at Homewood Middle School outside of Birmingham, Alabama, sees Immersive Reader and BrainPOP as a powerful combination that puts students in charge of their own learning.
“For my EL students, it’s just a game changer.” Miller’s school district serves a large immigrant population—with students from 23 countries! Being able to assess students in their native language has removed barriers to more accurately show what they are learning.
According to Miller, having all the Immersive Reader tools in one place within BrainPOP Quizzes has dual benefits. It saves teachers time and it makes sense to students. “They’re empowered because they’re not having to look for it. It’s all right there.”
Perhaps most significantly, Immersive Reader offers an invisible, non-stigmatizing, equitable experience for all students to keep pace, get the support they need, and show what they know.
How does Immersive Reader support reading in a BrainPOP Quiz?
A built-in “reading ruler” lets students select how many lines of text they want to see at one time.
Change text color, font, and background color; enlarge text (which shortens line length); and increase line, word, and letter spacing to reduce crowding.
Dividing words into syllables supports students as they sound out new or challenging words. They can also highlight and label parts of speech.
A text-to-speech option—which students can speed up or slow down—highlights words as they are read, helping students follow along at their own pace.
Click a word to view a picture or hear its pronunciation. Combine Picture Dictionary with the Read Aloud option to aid reading and comprehension.
View translations to over 45 languages, and easily toggle between the translation and original text.
Julia Bailey is a copywriter on the BrainPOP Marketing Team, and a former classroom educator.