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From one school to one nation: How Microsoft’s Reading Progress is improving English proficiency in Malaysia

Throughout our school years, we would have encountered teachers who mentored and encouraged us in our pursuit of knowledge. We remember them as inspiring individuals who had influences on our lives and shaping us into who we are today. These are teachers who had a genuine passion for education, taking creative and new approaches to ensure their students receive the best education possible. 

Ms. Tan Lee Yin, an English teacher at SMK Damansara Jaya is one of them. Ms. Tan aspires to instill confidence in her students by encouraging them to read. Today, Ms. Tan teaches almost 200 students every day, and one of the challenges she faces in the classroom is how to best provide personalized attention to each of her students. To overcome this, Ms. Tan turned to technology not just as a tool to support remote teaching during the pandemic, but also in making learning more personalized, fun, interactive, and inclusive for her students. 

In 2020, as an urgent response to the pandemic, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education together with Microsoft and other technology providers launched the Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia (DELIMa), which provides a single platform for educators to access learning tools, including Microsoft Teams. Through DELIMa, Ms. Tan learned about Reading Progress – a Microsoft Teams feature available exclusively for educators – designed to support and track reading fluency by having students record their reading on camera and submit it to their teachers.  

She believes that Reading Progress has not only helped improve her students’ reading ability but even empowered them to take ownership of their studies. 

“As an educator, I always believe that teaching comes from the heart. This way, no child will be left behind. Reading Progress helps build the confidence and self-esteem of each child as they learn to improve their reading fluency”
Ms. Tan Lee Yin, Teacher at SMK Damansara Jaya

From one school to one nation 

Ms. Tan’s efforts did not go unnoticed. Fast forward to October 2022, the Ministry of Education announced the launch of the Reading Progress initiative, making Malaysia the first country in Asia Pacific to expand the usage of Reading Progress to schools nationwide. As part of this pilot, Reading Progress will be available in the English language – implemented in more than 550 schools and over 1,100 teachers across Malaysia, to help improve students’ English proficiency. 

“Educators can access the Microsoft Teams Reading Progress feature and other tools via the DELIMa platform. All they need to do is login to DELIMa, create a Teams channel according to the classroom groups they teach for the year, and they can start the ball rolling,” says Ms.Tan 

The Reading Progress tool was designed to assist teachers to interact with students on a more personal level and find possibilities for customized instruction. Teachers not only have access to useful data but also Education Insights dashboards that assist visualize class and individual performance and progress using services such as assignment evaluation. These advancements have enabled educators, such as Ms. Tan, to give more interesting classes and measure students’ progress. 

“A child who reads will grow up to be an adult who thinks,” is a motto that Ms. Tan is a firm believer of. She is confident that encouraging her students’ reading interests would benefit them in the future and help form a better nation. 

Ms. Tan’s initiative to include Reading Progress in schools demonstrates how one teacher with access to the correct tools can result in a ripple effect that benefits students across an entire nation, providing them with more effective, equitable, and inclusive classrooms. 

“We are inspired by Ms. Tan’s efforts in making learning for her students more enjoyable. The Reading Progress pilot project is just the beginning, and we hope to extend technologies like Reading Progress to more schools in Malaysia to help strengthen the English proficiency of our younger generation. Together with our partners from the Ministry of Education, we aim to soon introduce the feature in additional languages, including Bahasa Malaysia”
Shida Zainal Abidin, Education Director for Microsoft in Malaysia

As Malaysia’s trusted technology partner for more than 30 years, Microsoft remains committed to empowering our nation’s inclusive digital economy in line with our Bersama Malaysia initiative. We want to continue supporting every Malaysian by creating more value and equal opportunities for growth with the use of digital tools and skills – true to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  

Watch how Ms. Tan utilizes the Reading Progress tool in her classrooms: 

YouTube Video