Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams - Improve student reading fluency, save time and track progress

Published May 04 2021 06:00 AM 48.9K Views

UPDATE for August 24th, 2021: Reading Progress is now at General Availability and rolling out globally! More detailed at the new blog:


After a year of practicing resiliency, building technology and self-management skills, and navigating  emotional turmoil, students are preparing to return to a rigorous school experience without some of the skills they would have built in a normal year. A recent study from Stanford illustrated the flattened growth of Oral Reading Fluency during the pandemic. In a broad sample of districts, second and third graders performed about 30 percent behind expectations, with the most severe impact concentrated in already struggling schools. In an environment of continued disruption and uncertainty, we are excited to introduce Reading Progress as a resource to help build opportunities for students and educators to get back on track in a non-stigmatizing and highly customizable way.

Reading Progress in Teams supports students in building fluency through independent reading practice, educator review, and educator insights.  Educators can upload a single reading fluency assignment or differentiate for their class’ many levels. Students read their passages out loud, creating an audio/video recording teachers can access and review at their convenience.  Traditionally, tracking students’ fluency is irregular and time consuming because it requires one on one close listening, while somehow still managing the remainder of the class. Creating recordings allows educators to check students’ progress more regularly while also freeing up time for active instruction. By empowering students to complete their reading fluency assignments regularly and independently, Reading Progress keeps the focus on practice and growth, not performing under pressure. Now reading fluency practice can happen anywhere!


Whether educators used the Auto-detect feature for quick review, or manually code errors, valuable data is collected in Insights. Teams Education Insights dashboards help visualize class and individual progress. Insights provides a holistic view of trends and data including accuracy rate, correct words per minute, mispronunciations, omissions and insertions. Reading Progress also highlights actionable insights for educators including common challenges across the entire class or per student. 

Teacher Review - FINAL.png


During our broad private preview, Reading Progress has been tested in a number of distinct use cases. We've seen the expected wide usage for ages 6-11 as well as utilization for middle and high school fluency checks, special education and dyslexia support, and for building English skills for non-native speakers, both in English dominant areas and where it’s taught as world language.  We’ve also seen high interest for adult literacy scenarios. The stigma of reading out loud and lack of educator time has previously made consistent fluency practice in post-elementary education settings minimal.  The implications of a private and regular space for older learners to practice fluency are immense.  Here are two observations from some educators who have been part of the early private preview:


Joe Merrill, an educator from Lake Park Elementary, Florida, has been using Reading Progress in our private preview over the past few months with his class and he has this to say “Reading Progress takes all the nerves out of my student’s fluency checks. They are comfortable with its approach and I am able to collect data quicker and more efficiently than ever before. Now, I can devote more time to differentiated instruction rather than individualized assessments.”


Luis Oliviera, Director of Unified Arts and ELA from Middletown High School in Middletown, RI , has been using Reading Progress with his older English Language Learner students and has this to say: "Reading Progress has been such a time saver for assessing and analyzing my high school ELL students’ reading fluency. I am able to give a passage to the entire class and have them record their responses instead of having to individually assess the students. Cultural selections for the reading passages enhance their knowledge of important topics and current events. This allows more time to work directly with the students in addressing their needs."


From the beginning, the creation and testing of this tool has been a and has been rooted in the science and literature of reading fluency. Our team has worked with hundreds of educators, literacy specialists and reading scientists. Early on, we had many interviews, brainstorming sessions and “design jams” with experts like Shaelynn Farnsworth, Lauren Taylor, Andrew Fitzgerald, Lauren Pittman, amongst many others.  We’ve consulted with students, iterated on different designs, and have much more in store! 



Four parts to the Reading Progress experience

1) Assignment creation – Reading Progress is built directly into the free Teams Assignments experience.  Once an educator selects Create>Assignment, the Add resource button now includes Reading Progress (Beta) for the private beta group. The educator then completes the creation of the assignment, including uploading the Word document of their choice. This summer educators can look forward to the addition of PDF capabilities and a partnership with  ReadWorks  that includes a small library of curated reading passages. The educator can also manually set the Reading Level, Number of attempts, Genre, and Sensitivity. I call this the “picky dial” - how picky would you like the software to be. For example, younger readers may need more relaxed pronunciation expectations, while older readers might be set to higher sensitivity.  Note that this can be changed during the review experience as well.



2) Student reading and recording: When students receive the Reading Progress assignment, they open it to see a recording experience. By default, video recording will be enabled, but teachers can approve audio-only if needed.  Similar to Flipgrid, the student will start the recording, get a countdown, and then the reading passage will open for the student to read. 

Student Reading.png


We’ve integrated aspects of the Immersive Reader into this experience to support students in  customizing the way the passage looks before they start reading.

Immersive Reader.png

3) Educator review: One of the most powerful aspects for Reading Progress is the quick and easy review process, which simultaneously returns work to students and collects fluency data in Insights. This experience is built-in to the Teams grading and review experience. The review page pulls together the student’s reading recording, words per minute count, accuracy rate, and the ability to fine tune pronunciation sensitivity. 


By default, the Auto-Detect feature is enabled, so you will see predicted mispronunciations, omissions, insertions, self-corrections, and repetitions. The educator can review the Auto-correct data, overriding any inaccuracies, or turn off Auto-detect to mark up the page manually as they listen to the recording, similar to how reading fluency checks are done with paper and pen.  To account for different speech patterns and accents, the educator can change the pronunciation sensitivity analyzes results to make teacher review faster and more accurate. In addition, with a single click the educator can jump to any part of the recording to review detected words or passages.

Teacher Review - FINAL.png


4) Powerful insights to track student progress:  Fluency data from Reading Progress is collected in Insights to support educators in taking evidence-based action for literacy in their classrooms. Insights dashboards help visualize progress and trends such as accuracy rate, correct words per minute, mispronunciations, omissions, and insertions. Reading Progress also highlights actionable insights for educators, synthesizing common challenges across the entire class or per student.  Educators can share Insights dashboard access to collaborate with literacy coaches, speech pathologists, and reading specialists and more to holistically curate student-centered approaches.


Later this summer education leaders will be able to access Reading Progress data by opting into our new Education Insights Premium designed to compile organization-wide data for intentional and impactful leadership. which is designed for school leaders and organization-wide views.  To learn more about this new Insights offering, visit the Education Insights Premium page.

Insights 1.jpg

Average words per minute and accuracy across a class or by student


Insights 2.jpg

Word cloud of most challenging word across a class or by student


A Reading Progress end-to-end demo

We’ve put together a support materials as well as an end-to-end video showing the details of how the entire Reading Progress experience works in Teams for Education:


Kate Griggs, founder of CEO of Made by Dyslexia, has had access to our early versions of Reading Progress and has this to say "Reading Progress is a FANTASTIC resource for teachers of, and children with dyslexia. Reading aloud is something dyslexic students really struggle with and literally dread doing, even in small groups or 1:1 with a teacher. Reading Progress offers a great way for dyslexic students to demonstrate what they can do, without feeling embarrassed or nervous. This will be a game changer”. 


Next Steps:

Reading Progress is currently in wide private testing with thousands of educators and is supported on Desktop, web, Mac, iOS and Android.  We are actively listening to educator and student feedback and updating and improving the tool regularly to meet your needs.  We will continue adding more schools to our private preview, and anticipate having Reading Progress at General Availability by late August of 2021, in time for back to school (Northern Hemisphere).


We have many improvements coming this summer, including support for PDF upload, iOS and Android video, a sample content library from ReadWorks, and the highly requested integration and roll up into Education Insights Premium. This will allow schools and districts to aggregate and roll up Reading Progress data into broader dashboards and analytics through the just-announced Education Insights Premium offering.


We also have a new Reading Progress page on the Microsoft Educator Center, and a MEC course coming later this summer.

A huge THANK YOU to all of the educators, students, and reading experts who have worked with us and given us feedback along this exciting journey. We look forward to collaborating with you as we continue!


Mike Tholfsen

Principal Product Manager

Microsoft Education



Occasional Visitor

Great to support all learners.

Occasional Visitor

@Mike Tholfsen This is a fabulous time saver and would fit nicely in the "Modern Classroom."  I'm going to present this to my Curriculum Coordinator, but I have a couple of questions.  I'm posting them here because I don't know where else to send them.  Is it possible for students to see the actual errors/types of errors they made?  I believe this would be beneficial for my middle school students who need to work on accuracy (the main reason their comprehension is skewed).  Also, she is going to want purchasing information.  Where can I find that?


I'm excited for the possibilities here.

New Contributor

This looks like exactly what we need right now. As headteacher, I would love to test this out if you are looking for a UK school to be part of the beta. Well done Microsoft, this could be a game changer!

Occasional Visitor

This is truly remarkable!

If you are looking for Aussie beta tester let me know :)

Regular Visitor

We caught a glimpse of this earlier in the year and even had a go with a student before it got taken off again! We would be delighted to join the beta testing phase, if you would have us. It was really exciting to use and our test subject loved it.

Occasional Visitor

Hi,  This just popped into my inbox and to say I am excited is an understatement.  I teach grade 1 in South Australia and would love to join the beta testing if possible.  Thanks

Hi everyone, reading progress looks like a great feature and I would love to test it with my English courses. Can I sign up my school to become a beta tester institution? We are located in Germany. Thank you.

Occasional Visitor

Good afternoon,

If you need a primary school in the UK to trial this with some of our children, we would love to be involved. 


Good luck. 

Senior Member

This looks like a great feature that could really help our community! We are in a First Nations community in Quebec, Canada, and literacy is a challenge many of our students face as 2nd language English speakers whose first language (Cree) is for the most part only practiced orally. Please let me know if we can join the Beta program. :)

Occasional Visitor

Muy bueno, ¿cómo aplicarlo en México?

Occasional Visitor

@Mike Tholfsen Uau! Great tool. I´m a volunteacher of english at a NGO here in Brazil. By any chance could we participate even in the beta version of it and maybe apply as a tool for this second semester? 

Occasional Visitor

Will this be available in French, just as Microsoft Office Lens is?

What a wonderful idea!!! We are a very big school in Spain 1500 students from infants to High Vocational training and we would be delighted to be part of the beta test!!! Using it as an aid in the ESL classroom would be fantastic!! Please contact me if you are interested!!!

Occasional Visitor

Se me hace interesante esta aplicación para gente que el Inglés no es su lengua nativa, aprenda a pronunciar mejor las palabras en Inglés.  Y tenga mayor comprensión del Idioma al conocer más palabras.   Alguna vez va a estar disponible esta tecnología para este fin ??

Occasional Visitor

We are a school located in Semarang Indonesia working with bilingual learners and would be very willing to incorporate this into our literacy programme.

Occasional Visitor

I am 45 years old and have struggled with picking up correct reading skills. I hope to improve my reading abilities through this fantastic tool you have created. It provides specific, relevant and timely feedback. I hope to use this app to also improve my kids reading skills. Thanks for coming up with this idea. Waiting to experience it first hand.

Occasional Visitor

This is a game changer for fluency practice as well as analysis for instruction. Any possibility this will be available for private tutors? While I have always loved the analysis of student strengths and errors when reading, the time involved for classroom practice was time consuming. Now as a private tutor, I can see how this would support independent fluency practice besides the normal data information needed for instruction.

Occasional Visitor

This is a great way to allow students to practice fluency and reading.  I can see applications of this for higher education for making sure that students understand important course documents or readings.  If it could be paired with Immersive Reader to allow a student to listen to the passage, then record their own reading, that would be a great addition.

I am wondering if you've thought about an additional feature for individuals who are using augmented communication and are working on literacy.   Have the passage use the picture symbols in Immersive Reader, read aloud with Immersive Reader, add in a place to write about the passage instead of read aloud. 

Occasional Visitor

What an amazing tool! Truly a game changer!


The only thing missing now is for the students to be able to see the feedback just as we see it. After their teacher reviews their progress, they should be able to see omissions, mispronunciations and so on just like the teacher does. That would allow them to try again and focus on the specific mistakes they've made and, ergo, improve more and much faster.

Occasional Visitor

Excelente programa, como Directora de una Institución Educativa en Perú, me gustaría compartirlo con mis profesores para su aplicación en aulas. Espero que el programa sea en español. 

Occasional Visitor

La propuesta nos interesa, mas cuando somos una institución formadora de maestros para el nivel inicial, nivel de preescolar y el ciclo de básica primaria. Sería interesante aplicarlo dado la diversidad de población con quien trabajamos. ¿ Cómo aplicarlo en Colombia? Gracias.

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