Microsoft wants to make 'Minecraft' easier for kids to read

It will add its Immersive Reader to 'Minecraft: Education Edition.'

Microsoft is bringing its Immersive Reader to Minecraft: Education Edition. The tool will let users expand the text in character dialogue, settings and boards. Immersive Reader will dictate each word as it is highlighted, so users can follow along, and it will add Minecraft-specific images for words like "Creeper" and "Mooshroom."

The tool is meant to support students learning to read and/or translate, as well as students with reading challenges. Microsoft has previously put it to use in other platforms, like Office. The tool should be ready for Minecraft: Education Edition by the start of the school year this fall. Microsoft has a few other changes in store -- like a single sign on feature -- meant to make the program easier for teachers and students to use. If you don't want to wait through the summer, you can sign up now to beta test the new features.

It's likely Microsoft will have even more to announce at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia next week. As ZDNet reports, the company is making Immersive Reader available as an Azure Cognitive Service. That will allow developers to add AI capabilities like speech recognition and sentiment analysis to other applications, so we could see more apps adding Immersive Reader features.