Literacy support in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft added some interesting new features to its Edge web browser in Windows 10.  One of the new features allows websites, PDFs, and eBooks to be read aloud to you. The “Read Aloud” feature is a free tool in Microsoft Edge.

For example, open up a webpage that has text.  To read the text Right-click on a paragraph and select Read aloud.

Right click menu in Microsoft Edge

This will then read the text highlighting the sentence and the word spoken as seen below. Once reading you can left click on any sentence to read aloud.

3 lines of text with one line highlighted in blue with one word highlighted in yellow.

Voice options at the top of the page enable the user to change the voice and the speed of the spoken text.

Read aloud settings for voice and speed

Read Aloud will read any web page in this way.

Microsoft Immersive Reader is another free tool that supports literacy development for learners regardless of age or ability. It makes reading more inclusive and accessible to all. 

It does this by reducing distractions and simplifies the user interface so the user can focus on the content.

Some webpages support Microsoft immersive reader  

Webpages that enable this view will show the Immersive Reader icon on the address bar as can be seen on this Microsoft education blog page.

Immersive reader web page icon on the address bar of Microsoft Edge

Once you click on the full Immersive Reader view icon the full immersive reader view will appear on the webpage you are on, for example on this blog post on Global Read Aloud

The full Immersive Reader view shows text highlighted with surrounding text grayed out on the page.

As well as the read aloud options you have options to change the Text or Reading preferences and the Grammaer tools.

A step-by-step tutorial on how to use new Immersive Reader in the Microsoft Edge browser.

The good:  Read aloud on Microsoft Edge is a free tool from Microsoft and is available on all webpages.  It is easy to start reading aloud on any webpage.

The not so good: At the time of writing the full Immersive Reader view is only available on a limited amount of web pages.

The verdict: This Immersive Reader tool supports literacy development and makes reading online more inclusive and accessible to all.   Although limited on webpages it is available on other platforms such as Word, OneNote and Outlook for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

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