Product Review of ReadWorks
ReadWorks is a free website offering research-based strategies and resources for differentiated reading instruction, specifically comprehension. There’s a range of fiction and nonfiction texts, activities, and assessments as well as an online platform educators can use to track learner progress. Educators can add learners manually or via Google Classroom by sharing a class code or importing their learners. Educators will find class demo videos, current research, classroom protocols, tips, and suggestions that help to implement or improve reading instruction. Once classes are created, educators can begin curating reading assignments using various filters, such as grade level, topic, and content type. Educators can easily assign passages, corresponding vocabulary activities, and full or express standards-aligned question sets to an entire class, small groups, or individual learners. An easy-to-use Assignments & Progress dashboard makes it simple to grade learner responses, track progress, and provide direct feedback. Multiple-choice questions are automatically graded, but educators will have to grade short-answer questions and, if they wish, provide written feedback.
Learners can access reading tools such as vocabulary aids, annotation tools, and accessibility features, including read-aloud, if the educator has enabled it. Learners can also curate their own reading library based on topics of interest. This lets them strengthen their knowledge and comprehension and keep track of what they have read and their reactions to each text.
One of ReadWorks’ most attractive features is its support for different classroom setups. Any lesson can be printed out, projected in front of the class, or assigned digitally to be completed on- or offline. This — combined with being free and full of resources — means any educator looking to increase learners’ reading comprehension, provide extra support, or differentiate by interest or text complexity will likely find something useful.
Use the Article-A-Day sets to establish a 10- to 15-minute daily reading routine that increases learners’ background knowledge and improves vocabulary. Add Boost, Challenge, or ELL-friendly texts to these to further customize instruction. Assign Paired Texts — chosen for different perspectives on the same topic — to encourage more in-depth analysis, compare perspectives, or check for bias. Use the wide range of resources to create engaging lessons that lend themselves to literature circles, differentiated group work, or independent work. Since learners can change the text size, view passages and questions side by side, annotate highlighted sections, and even curate their own reading lists, they can interact with text in ways that help them make sense of and enjoy what they’re reading.
Educators should also check out and assign articles with audio narration features. This allows learners to listen to texts on their devices and could be particularly helpful in supporting ELLs and struggling readers. Finally, assess learners and give feedback by assigning full or express sets of multiple-choice, short-answer, and open-ended questions.
The content-rich ReadWorks platform easily lends itself to differentiation and supports learners’ development of vocabulary skills and background knowledge. Convenient features such as the ability to curate lists, view assignments over time and assign to individuals and groups make it easy to target instruction and monitor learner progress. The Article-A-Day feature lets educators in virtually any content area support learner literacy, and abundant filters help educators find just right the content for their learners. Plus, different activities allow for some customization regarding how educators assess learner comprehension. Partnerships with organizations like the Museum of Modern Art, The History Channel, and The National Wildlife Foundation make for regularly updated, quality content.
In addition to its regular content, the site includes access to ebooks and StepReads passages, which provide struggling readers with a more accessible, less complex version of authentic nonfiction or literary texts. Educators can use StepReads to scaffold lessons and support learners’ needs without sacrificing quality. Special Collections include texts on SEL topics, holidays, events, and content from featured partners, and many passages also include an audio option for those who struggle with written text or simply prefer to supplement their reading with audio. Reading passages offer vocabulary lists, definitions, examples, and topics that are particularly relevant to ELLs, while flexible viewing options, accessibility features, and annotation tools on the learner side make for a more inclusive reading experience. Plus, since learners can curate their own library of content, they have opportunities to engage with content that is meaningful to them. All in all, ReadWorks is an excellent way for educators to promote the development of learners’ reading skills across content areas.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Useful interactive features upgrade varied, high-interest passages. Learners can work through educator-chosen or self-selected texts.
Curriculum and Instruction
StepReads and human-voiced narration allow educators to target reading instruction. Special Collections and Article-A-Day features help create a more authentic and integrated reading environment.
There’s abundant support with articles, videos , and helpful hints. The platform is thoughtfully designed with all types of learners in mind.