Andres Villegas is a serious, quiet 11-year-old who has loved to read since he was 4 — especially Harry Potter and science fiction. But whenever he was asked to read aloud, his palms would get sweaty and he’d skip or mispronounce words, even ones he knew.
然后他的五年级老师发现了一个新的程序，让学生练习他们的口头阅读技巧。很快Andres大声朗读到一台隐形评估他识字的电脑，而不是让教师标记在纸上的错误，并且发现它是“实际上放松”，他说。“在镜头前，我不觉得强调。我觉得我不太分散注意力，我正在阅读更好 - 更清楚，而不是那么慢 - 我感到更加自信。“
这是一大百名学生所看到的发展，他们一直在寻找新功能，称为Reading Progress, which will be available for free in Microsoft Teams for Educators by the start of the next schoolyear in the U.S. It uses AI-enhanced evaluations to give teachers insight into students’ struggles and already has saved them hours each week that they’ve been able to put back into individualized instruction — to the benefit of their students, especially amid the disruptive pandemic.
For Andres, the newfound confidence has turned him into a supportive leader among his classmates, his teacher says, and is extending beyond the classroom, too: He has started reading books to his little brother, who’s in first grade, as well as his 4-year-old cousin.
学习阅读的关键构件ife, and the practice of reading aloud is key to comprehension and empowerment.
“Employability, civic lives, social media, ways for our students to become advocates for themselves and others — it all starts with that foundation of literacy,” says Shaelynn Farnsworth, a reading expert and the News Literacy Project’s national director of educator outreach. “If you’re illiterate, you’re cut off from all those opportunities. That’s why reading is the No. 1 focus and at the forefront of education.”
Jose Garcia wished he’d had a program likeReading Progress在90年代初在洛杉矶成长。
“I remember the fluency tests where they call you to the table, and the teacher’s assistant puts a timer on and you read, and they mark what you got wrong,” he says. “If this tech was around when I was growing up, I would have tested out earlier, and it would have set me up for better opportunities.”
They read a text to a teacher, who has a paper copy and marks any errors such as a mispronunciation or an omitted or inserted word. The teacher reviews the results to see what level pupils are reading at and what they’re struggling with and need to focus on — both individually and as a class. The assessments give insight into the students’ vocabulary and comprehension, in part by the cadence of their reading and whether they follow punctuation cues with pauses, phrasing and intonation.
It’s a heavily time-intensive process, especially with larger classes, and the insights aren’t easily come by and can be outdated by the time they’re all tabulated. Kids find it stressful, too, and often clam up when they notice the teacher marking down their mistakes.
Mike Tholfsen, the product manager for Microsoft’s沉浸式阅读器特征，看到教师推特关于他们的挫折感，并在2018年聚集了他的团队为“一个巨大的头脑风暴会议”，从世界各地带来扫盲专家和教育工作者来概述问题。
“To get better at reading fluency, you need to read out loud and practice more — it’s a self-reinforcing thing,” he says. “But because it’s such a time suck, it’s like kids were only brushing their teeth a couple times a year instead of every day.”
Tholfsen pulled together a team including experts from all reading science methodologies to make sure the new feature would work regardless of the technique being used. Designers had to account for the difference in children’s voices, since voice-recognition software was created for adults, and for accents and colloquialisms — along with masks that can muffle dictation. And developers gave teachers control over the level of discretion, with the ability to change mistakes that get marked or even to turn off auto-detect and do their own evaluations of the videos.
威廉希尔体育官网微软最近获得了FlipGrid，是学生的社会学习平台。它的创始人Charlie Miller鼓励Tholfsen的团队将音频和视频组合起来，帮助教师觉得与学生更联系，让他们看看发生了什么 - 例如分心或口动运动 - 当错误被标记时。
When Tholfsen started running the prototype past teachers last year, “it resonated unbelievably and they wanted it now, for their whole school,” he says. “It was a Spidey-sense tingling feeling. We were on to something.”
Since schools sent everyone home in March 2020 due to the pandemic, teachers had “a lot of catchup to do” last fall, says Merrill, who teaches foundational reading skills to 6- and 7-year-olds, helping them choppily sound out words at the beginning of the year until they’re smoothly reading whole sentences by the end. First grade is a big academic year, he says, with growth so fast the kids can jump 10 levels, whereas advancement slows to three or four levels a year by fourth grade. Frequent assessments are crucial to help him quickly adjust his instruction and adapt to the pace of the progress being made.
He started using Reading Progress at the beginning of this school year and says it has saved him five hours a week of class time, not to mention hours of work after class to review and assess.
In Tacoma, Washington, 9-year-old Brielle Taylor has jumped from a fourth-grade to sixth-grade reading fluency level since starting to use Reading Progress in February.
Brielle recalls completing a reading quiz recently and looking up at her mother, curious how she’d done.
“Mom made this expression, and I didn’t know if it was bad or good, because she just said ‘Whoa,’” Brielle says.
Even Brielle’s little sister, 6-year-old Zoe, can hear the difference and now asks for Brielle, instead of their mother, to read to her every night before bed.
“She can read harder books now,” Zoe says, “even the new ones she got for Christmas.”
Petrovskaya assigns a text in Reading Progress to her class and gets the results within five minutes, she says, including words per minute and the accuracy rate. Then she goes through the evaluations on her own and spends the allotted one-on-one class time watching each student’s video with them and discussing it together. The process gives her time to reflect on each kid’s needs without classroom interruptions or the pressure of having to give feedback on the fly.
“When I meet with them now, there’s more quality to it and I can dig deeper with each student, instead of just saying, ‘You read this many words per minute and made these mistakes,’” Petrovskaya says. “And when they listen to themselves, it becomes more intrinsic. Kids naturally want to get better, and this taps into that. It takes the reins from me and gives control to the students over their learning, because they can see their mistakes themselves, and that has been super powerful and empowering for them.”
The Reading Progress insights empower educators as well, helping them teach students at all levels from kindergarten through adulthood.
Luis Oliveira，谁把英语称为第二语言30年来，令人震惊地看到“数学”这个词在阅读进步词云中作为他的高中课程中最大的问题。这个词以前从来没有是一个问题，但系统对几乎每个学生都标记了误用，而当Oliveira在文本中观看了这一点的视频 - 教师可以跳过某些单词或线条，因为他们回顾评估 - 他可以说即使是那些宣称它被正确犹豫不决的人。
Oliveira often assigns texts about American culture to his immigrant students, knowing they engage more when they’re interested in the subject matter. This schoolyear he chose a lot of articles about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines to help them understand discussions going on in their other classes. He suddenly realized he needed to diversify more.
“The word cloud and videos help target the problem areas much easier,” he says. “And if it helps the teachers help the students, then it’s a great thing.”
引领形象：Brielle Taylor读到她的小妹妹佐伊。（照片由Scott Eklund / Red Box图片）