UDL Win – Word’s Immersive Reader

Young person sitting on rug on floor, back against the wall, knees are propping up a laptop so that the face cannot be seen
Young person reading on laptop, Wokandapix, pixabay CC0

I was already big fan of Microsoft’s accessibility checker, but today I was surprised and delighted when I dug a little deeper into the Immersive Reader featured on Office 365 for both PC and MAC.  This is just another reason to create accessible documents and to post them in Office 365 for students to access.  Better yet, it works also in OneNote and soon to be included in Teams.  What’s more, this tool helps us to meet a UDL guideline and support students’ ability to customize the display of information.

This one tool could help students to customize their content experience in following ways:

  • Changing the font size
  • Assessing sentence construction
  • Helping them to focus on what their reading online versus scanning
  • Listening to the document, perhaps while they read or sitting on transit
  • Learn pronunciation

Immersive Reader’s Features:

  • Text preferences
    • Select font size
    • Select spacing
    • Background colour
  • Grammar options
    • Break up works by syllables
    • Highlight parts of speech
  • Reading preferences
    • Line focus
  • Voice settings
    • Speed
    • Male or female voice
  • In-text word and/or picture dictionary
Immersive Reader Text Preferences
Text Preferences
Immersive Reader Grammar Options
Grammar Options
Immersive Reader Reading Preferences
Reading Preferences

It’s Not Magic:

This tool doesn’t work with magic.  It relies on Words templated features and functions therefore the Immersive Reader can’t magically transform your document into an accessible document from which it can do its intended job.  This means that you need to use Word’s design features e.g., font styles, headers, alt text, and so on to create an accessible document first (quality in -> quality out). Use the link above to learn how to check your documents.  The tool tells you what to fix, how to fix it, and why to fix it.  Plus, the accessibility generally carries forward.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Using Word’s Immersive reader in this way supports Multiple Means of Representation’s Perception Guideline regarding customizing the display of information.

In what ways do you think students could use this feature?


This is post 3/9, in participation with ecampusontario’s #9x9x25 challenge

See my other posts related to this challenge: https://professordannysmith.com/adapting-my-teaching-style-to-connect-with-introverted-students/ and https://professordannysmith.com/you-gotta-eat-dessert-first-recruiting-interest/

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