Amazement in their eyes’: Reading Coach uses AI to help students create their own stories

By Bill Briggs

Have we got a story for you.

Actually, let’s rephrase that: Author Kayleen Torres has a story for you. And here’s how it starts:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, dwelled a most curious feline known as Luna. Luna, a monochromatic domesticized cat with piercing emerald-tinted eyes, had a deep-seated yearning for adventure and exploration beyond the norm. 

Kayleen’s enchanting plot ultimately twirls and twists to reveal that Luna struts into a soccer stadium where some athletes invite her to join their game. Turns out, Luna can seriously boot the ball with her fuzzy paws. Soon, that green-eyed kitty with the daring spirit becomes a star.

“Her team wins because the cat, like, scores a goal – or something,” Kayleen explains. “A cat is, like, my favorite animal.”

Yes, the author is 10 years old.

A fifth grader at Baldwin Academy, an elementary school near Los Angeles, Kayleen created her tale using the new version of Microsoft Reading Coach. The free tool now harnesses generative AI, which helps learners produce their own stories. They can pick their characters and settings – all while working at their reading level.

Fifth grader Joshua Munoz reads aloud a story that was freshly generated by Reading Coach.

Kayleen is one of several hundred students in the U.S., the U.K. and India now testing the enhanced Reading Coach as part of a public preview. The pilot’s largest group spans about 75 students in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, which includes Baldwin Academy.

“They love it,” says Ana Ruiz, a fifth-grade teacher at Baldwin Academy. “Every student can choose what they want it to be. I have students who read at a ninth-grade level, kids who need reading support and students in-between. Being able to pick a reading level is such a game changer.”

Reading Coach – one of the Learning Accelerators available via Microsoft Education – also directs students to read their stories aloud into a computer microphone. It then detects the words they find challenging and guides them to independently say and practice those terms.

For Kayleen, her practice words included “principal,” “little” and “cool.” She uses Reading Coach about once a day, she says, often on a computer at her home in La Puente, California.

“With AI, it’s different from all the other stuff (at school) because you make it yourself,” Kayleen says. “I like the feeling of that. I like to do the stuff that I make.”

At home or at school, kids can use Reading Coach as a Windows application or a browser-based experience.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Othniel Tucker
Account Executive

Back to all news