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January 10, 2020

Building Inclusive Classrooms with Pear Deck and Immersive Reader

We’re pleased to announce the beta launch of our integration with immersive reader. Immersive reader, a service developed by Microsoft, uses proven techniques to help build inclusive classrooms with readers of all ages and abilities where they can improve comprehension and build confidence in their reading skills.

We know students with learning differences face real challenges when it comes to developing reading, writing, and mathematical skills. Often they might need extra time to complete their tasks and individual support during classroom activities. Using the right assistive technology can help these students become confident, independent learners who feel empowered to fully participate and share their ideas with their teacher and peers.

"Pear Deck is a simple way to improve instruction by connecting with every student, every day,” says Riley Eynon-Lynch, Pear Deck CEO. “I'm eager to see how Immersive Reader can make it even simpler to connect when reading text is a barrier between teachers and their students.

Making Pear Deck lessons more inclusive

Pear Deck + Immersive Reader (beta) is available in Pear Deck Slides and works with lessons created in Google Slides or PowerPoint Online. This new feature gives students access to a powerful set of tools with  wide-ranging benefits that include:

  • Increasing fluency for English language learners or readers of other languages
  • Helping to build confidence for emerging readers learning to read at higher levels
  • Offering text decoding solutions for students with learning differences such as dyslexia or visual impairments
  • Providing translation of words or the entire text

Kathy Blake teaches visually-impaired students at Bedford School District in New Hampshire and is a long-time Pear Deck user. After testing the new integration, Kathy shared, “Pear Deck's ability to engage and motivate students has made it a must-have instructional tool. Now that Immersive Reader is integrated with Pear Deck, students with print disabilities, including visual impairments, will be able to fully engage with the content the classroom teacher curates. This partnership is exactly what I have been waiting for!"

Using immersive reader

How do I enable it?
If you have Pear Deck Premium or are on a Trial, go to your Pear Deck Settings page (Pear Deck Home > My Account > Settings). Go to the Immersive Reader setting and turn it on. This setting applies to all future Sessions until you turn it off.

What will my students see?
When participating in a Pear Deck Session, students can activate Immersive Reader by clicking an icon in their Student View. Doing so allows them to view text from the Pear Deck Slide in a format that helps the student follow along as it reads the text aloud, word by word. Each word is highlighted as it is read aloud, further supporting the aural-visual connection.

Students can also adjust settings such as the pace of dictation, text size, and spacing between words. They can change the reading voice and the background color too, which helps give students a sense of ownership of their learning. The Immersive Reader has a grammar component as well that highlights nouns, verbs and adjectives, and breaks down words by syllables. And for English Language Learners, Immersive Reader can translate words or the entire text into over 60 languages, over 40 of which can be read aloud.

In choosing to integrate Immersive Reader, we’re taking a step forward on our journey to make lessons and engaging content available to diverse learners everywhere. During this beta period, all of the capabilities built into Immersive Reader will be available to educators with access to Pear Deck’s Premium features.  We’re using this beta launch as an opportunity to test and learn how educators use this feature within Pear Deck and gather feedback for future iterations. We’re excited for you to put it to work and tell us what you think!

Check out the Immersive Reader Knowledge Base article for more information about the integration.


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