Reading Progress is a free tool designed to support educators in creating personalized reading experiences that build confidence and reading fluency in their students. Built into Assignments in Teams, Reading Progress passages are easy to create and differentiate for impactful instruction. Reading Progress has now fully rolled out globally!
Navigating time constraints while also managing a class full of students is no small undertaking. This year, educators face the additional challenge of building a supportive and rigorous school experience for students who are entering the classroom without some of the skills they would have developed in a normal year. A recent study from Stanford shows Oral Reading Fluency growth dropped 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. As students, families, and educators continue to navigate uncertainty, we are excited to introduce Reading Progress in Teams as a flexible resource that can build opportunities for students and educators to get back on track in a non-stigmatizing and highly customizable way.
Reading Progress is free and built-in to Microsoft Teams Assignments and works on all platforms, including Desktop, Mac, web, iOS and Android. Educators upload a single reading fluency passage or differentiate for their class’ many levels. Students read their passages out loud, creating a 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, most challenging vocabulary, mispronunciations, omissions and insertions.
Get started with these three new Reading Progress resources
During our broad private preview, Reading Progress was utilized by educators supporting learners across age ranges and with a variety of support needs. We've seen the expected wide usage for emerging readers, 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. 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 and monitoring in post-elementary education settings minimal. The implications of a private and regular space for older learners to practice fluency are immense. Luis Oliviera, Director of Unified Arts and ELA at Middletown High School in Middletown, RI shared:
"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."
New features added since the private preview
Since our private preview announcement in May, we’ve added some new features based on educator feedback, including:
Here is a detailed end-to-end video demonstrating the entire Reading Progress experience:
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. The educator then completes the creation of the assignment, including uploading the Word document or PDF their choice. Educators can look forward to the addition of a partnership with ReadWorks, launching in a few weeks, which includes a small library of curated reading passages. The educator can also manually set the Reading Level, Number of attempts, Genre, and Pronunciation Sensitivity. I call this the “picky dial” - how picky would you like the software to be when estimating student errors? 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.
We’ve integrated aspects of the Immersive Reader into this experience to empower students to select their own visual supports before they start reading.
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 Teams’ grading and review. The review page pulls together the student’s recording, words per minute count, accuracy rate, and the ability to fine tune pronunciation sensitivity.
By default, the Auto-detect feature is enabled (currently in “Preview”) predicting and marking mispronunciations, omissions, insertions, self-corrections, and repetitions. Auto-detect is now in preview for 37 languages and locales. By selecting any word, educators can jump to that part of the recording, hear the student’s pronunciation, and use the drop down to modify marking as needed. To account for different speech patterns and accents, the educator can adjust how carefully pronunciation sensitivity analyzes results to make review faster and more accurate or turn off Auto-detect to mark up the page manually, similar to how reading fluency checks are done with paper and pen.
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.
In October, 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, Education Insights Premium will allow leaders to aggregate and roll up Reading Progress data into broader dashboards and analytics with views on entire schools and districts. To learn more about this new Insights offering, visit the Education Insights Premium page.
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!
Principal Product Manager
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