Microsoft’s Reading Coach Lends a Hand to Exhausted Teachers

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Microsoft has announced that its AI-powered reading tutor, Reading Coach, is now available for free to anyone with a Microsoft account.

  • This literacy AI coach is very easy to use and has a lot of neat features like an AI story generator based on the reader’s preferences.
  • The interface is colorful without being obnoxious, creating an engaging learning environment.

Microsoft has announced that its AI-powered reading tutor, Reading Coach, is now available for free to anyone with a Microsoft account.

Microsoft’s team designed the literacy Ai coach with the sole purpose of enhancing reading fluency and comprehension. Initially launched in 2022, it was a part of Microsoft Teams for Education and Immersive Reader to be used by educators and students in grades K-8.

Now, however, Reading Coach is available on the web in preview, with a Windows app in the pipeline for future release. I tried it out. I know I’m not its target demographic (and I haven’t been so since Snowden dragged the CIA’s skeletons out of the closet for all to see) but it’s very nice.

  1. Extremely user-friendly and straight to the point.
  2. It has options to adjust the font, the display, and the font size.
  3. It has an option that shows the reader which words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
  4. Colorful but not obnoxious.
  5. It uses a system of positive reinforcement.

Reading Coach identifies words that the reader is struggling with the most and provides tools for independent, individualized practice. The tools available include text-to-speech, syllable breaking, and picture dictionaries, catering to the diverse needs of learners. After practice sessions, educators can also review students’ work, track reading progress, and identify areas that require improvement.

I can definitely see my 8-year-old and 3-year-old nephews enjoying Reading Coach. I guess the little one is a bit too young for it right now though.

It uses also AI, courtesy of Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, as a short story generator based on the child selection of “main character,” “location,” and reading level. I made one about a dragon in the city and another about a unicorn at the stadium.

The artwork is adorable!

And now the other shoe drops. Educators warn that Reading Coach is not foolproof for measuring comprehension. They point out how students accidentally pressing the wrong button or disengaging from the task could affect the final score.

However, a 2023 survey proved that about 44% of educators believe that adaptive tech beats non-adaptive software or traditional methods. People learn differently and when we accommodate them, they shine?! Education isn’t static? Who would have thought?!

This could very well be a ploy to get people to make Microsoft accounts. But Microsoft is already doing pretty well on its own, according to the numbers. It beat Apple.

Teachers across the board are underpaid and overworked. Parents are overworked and stretched thin. Children’s books are not very expensive, but they rack up if you have a kid who devours them. Just ask my mother. So, a little supervised AI to help teach your kid the difference between lead and lead is not the end of the world.

It takes a village to raise a child. A little help never hurts anyone.

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