Review: ReadWorks.org

Are you trying to increase literacy across content areas? If so, you probably want to bookmark ReadWorks.org right now! Of the site’s features, this powerful search interface really sets these free literacy resources above the rest.

The search interface allows users to find texts through several useful filters: keyword, grade level, Lexile level, content area (“Domain”), text types, and specific skills/strategies. The fewer filters you use, the more likely you are to find results. For example, here are the results for 9-10 grade US History, informational texts. Several of the offerings come with “paired texts,” and if a skill or strategy is listed, the text comes with a question set. With a free account, all the texts and questions are available to view, download, save, and/or print.

Check out these search results for 9-10 grade Physical Science, informational texts, mutli-skill/strategy. The provided questions (multiple choice and short essay) emphasize vocabulary in context, supporting details, and other Common Core aligned literacy skills.

In addition to these useful search/filter features, ReadWorks.org also has crafted units around various focus areas. From the main page, there are four blue blocks on the left side of the screen. Check out the top three (the fourth takes you to the search filter described above): “Skill and Strategy Units,” “Comprehension Units,” and “Novel Study Units.” These features, however, only go up to grade 6 in most cases – so middle and high school teachers will need to use the search interface previously described.

ReadWorks.org might not have everything you need to create a literacy curriculum in and of itself, but it’s definitely a key resource for adding to your toolbox. The only caveat I think important is to remember that simply assigning texts and questions is not the way to go with regard to engaging lesson planning, and ReadWorks.org does not include more interactive lessons – but when it comes to locating texts, this is an incredibly useful resource.

Comments

  1. Sarah Updike says:

    Last year I was assigned to teach all 4th and 5th general education students in addition to my IEP caseload, but had to gather together my own materials and this website saved my life! I was able to find informational articles that reinforced what they were studying in their social studies and science classes while also addressing concepts and skills required of the ELA curricula. Even better was the fact that I could find related topics written on multiple lexile/grade levels, allowing me to target my students within their individual zones of proximal development. Throw in a few relevant video clips, and my students had a well-rounded experience of the same topic regardless of their reading level. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t find their questions to be sufficiently challenging in the context of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, but it was easy to come up with an extended response question that could tie together two related stories to promote higher level thinking.

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