Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2021

ReadWorks

Differentiate reading instruction with high-quality texts and lessons

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 35 reviews
Privacy rating
50%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–12
Subjects & Skills
English-Language Learning, English Language Arts, Critical Thinking

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1 video | 7 images

Pros: It's easy to find content for any subject; leveled reading passages are paired with detailed lesson plans and thorough comprehension activities.

Cons: LMS integration is limited to Google Classroom, which results in extra steps for teachers who use a different platform.

Bottom Line: The quality and scope of texts, lesson plans, assessments, and supports on this platform can help facilitate online or offline targeted reading instruction in nearly any home or classroom.

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 it being free and full of resources -- means any teacher looking to increase students' 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 students' background knowledge and improves vocabulary skills. 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 students can change the text size, view passages and questions side by side, annotate highlighted sections, and even curate their own reading lists, they're able to interact with text in ways that help them make sense of and enjoy what they're reading. 

Teachers should also check out and assign articles that include the audio narration feature. This allows students to listen to texts on their devices, and could be particularly helpful in supporting ELLs and struggling readers. Finally, assess students and give feedback by assigning full or express sets of multiple-choice, short-answer, and open-ended questions.

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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 teachers can use to track student progress. Teachers can add students manually or via Google Classroom by sharing a class code or importing their students. Teachers will find class demo videos, current research, classroom protocols, tips, and suggestions that help to implement or improve reading instruction. Once classes are created, teachers can begin curating reading assignments using various filters, such as grade level, topic, and content type. Teachers can easily assign passages, corresponding vocabulary activities, and full or express standards-aligned question sets to an entire class, small groups, or individual students. An easy-to-use Assignments & Progress dashboard makes it simple to grade student responses, track progress, and provide direct feedback. Multiple-choice questions are automatically graded, but teachers will have to grade short-answer questions and, if they wish, provide written feedback. 

Students have access to reading tools such as vocabulary aids, annotation tools, and accessibility features, including read-aloud if the teacher has enabled it. Students can also curate their own reading library based on topics of interest. This lets them strengthen their knowledge and comprehension as well as keep track of what they have read and their reactions to each text.

Full Disclosure: ReadWorks and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.

The content-rich ReadWorks platform easily lends itself to differentiation and supports students' 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 student progress. The Article-A-Day feature lets teachers in virtually any content area support student literacy, and abundant filters help teachers find just-right content for their students. Plus, different types of activities allow for some customization in terms of how teachers assess student 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. Teachers can use StepReads to scaffold lessons and support students' needs without sacrificing quality. Special Collections include texts on SEL topics, holidays, and 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 student side make for a more inclusive reading experience. Plus, since students 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 teachers to promote development of students' reading skills across content areas.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Useful interactive features upgrade varied, high-interest passages. Students can work through teacher-chosen or self-selected texts.

Pedagogy

StepReads and human-voiced narration allow teachers to target reading instruction. Special Collections and Article-A-Day features help create a more authentic and integrated reading environment.

Support

There's abundant support with articles and videos and helpful hints along the way. The platform is thoughtfully designed with all types of learners in mind.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

(See all 35 reviews) (35 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Susan A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Mountain Shadows Elementary
West Jordan, United States
Overall a great tool to help increase student comprehension and depth of knowledge.
The only downfall is that my students are not as excited to use the program as I am. I think it's a really solid program without all the bells and whistles. I like it for this reason. Not every computer program needs to be a game for the student to learn. In addition, I think this is great to help prepare them for year end testing (that isn't in game form either).
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Unclear whether profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Unclear whether this product provides processes to access and review user data.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

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