Common Sense Review
Updated February 2017

ReadWorks Digital

Research-based site makes it easy to assign, differentiate readings
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • Start here and use your email to sign up for a teacher account.
  • Create a class and then invite students to join your class through one of two options.
  • Filter content to curate the best reading assignments for your students' needs.
  • Build reading comprehension skills with corresponding question sets.
  • Easily track grade responses, provide feedback, and track student progress.
Pros
Tons of free, ready-to-print resources including leveled reading passages, differentiated texts, vocabulary lists, and assessments.
Cons
Too teacher-focused; students can't choose texts or access readings unless assigned.
Bottom Line
An effective digital reinvention of the trusted ReadWorks platform that makes it simple to distribute and track high-quality reading assignments.
Monica Encarnacion
Common Sense Reviewer
School support staff
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Students interact with high-quality texts, vocabulary lists, and reading comprehension questions within a teacher-designed virtual classroom. No student choice of texts, however.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

Common Core-aligned, high-quality, leveled informational texts and literary articles make it easy to target comprehension skills and build background knowledge in a way that is accessible for students at all levels.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

There's a wide range of teaching resources: leveled texts, audio supports, corresponding vocabulary lists, paired texts, and StepReads. These features provide multiple entryways for readers who might struggle with text complexity.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers can use ReadWorks Digital to easily distribute high-quality articles and assignments for students to read in class or at home. There's a wide range of resources here to create engaging whole-class reading lessons, differentiated group work, or independent center work. Teachers can even assign articles that include an audio feature so students can listen to texts within a classroom listening center. This may be particularly helpful in building listening skills in ELLs and supporting struggling readers. In addition, teachers can print reading passages and assessments for students to use when there is no internet access. Sets of multiple-choice and short-answer questions also are assigned. Multiple-choice questions are automatically graded, but teachers will have to grade short-answer questions. The option to provide written feedback is also available. 

The provided Article-a-Day Sets are well worth a try, as they provide teachers an easy way to establish a 10- to 15-minute daily reading routine that can dramatically increase student's background knowledge and significantly improve vocabulary skills. Under the Teaching Tips drop-down menu, teachers will find class demo videos, classroom protocols, tips, and suggestions that will make it super simple to implement this daily reading routine in any classroom. Also worth noting is the fact that ReadWorks Digital includes Paired Texts -- a set of texts that have been paired because they compliment each other or cover topics on the same subject -- like those you may already be familiar with from the ReadWorks sister site.  These can be valuable texts to assign when exploring specific subjects or working on research projects.

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What's It Like?

ReadWorks Digital is a free online literacy platform that allows teachers to curate high-quality Common Core-aligned reading assignments. Similar to the original ReadWorks site, here you'll find research-based K–12 reading comprehension content, but students can interact with it online. After signing up as a teacher, click on Class Admin from the top menu and create a class. Students then can join a class by using a provided code along with their Google account. No Google account? No problem. Teachers can create a roster and provide the class code to students.

Once classes are created, teachers can begin assigning reading passages and formative assessments. The site is divided into five sections -- Social Studies, Science, Literacy, Skills & Strategies, and Special Collections -- and includes articles from the American Museum of Natural History. Teachers can curate reading assignments by searching grade level or Lexile level and choosing options with or without audio and by searching within the StepReads curriculum. Corresponding vocabulary lists and Common Core-aligned question sets also are included. Teachers can easily assign passages to an entire class or individual students. An easy-to-use Assignments dashboard makes it simple to grade student responses, track progress, and provide direct feedback. Under the Teaching Tips menu, teachers will also find a wealth of resources, video tutorials, and suggestions to help them easily implement the use of the ReadWorks Digital reading platform in their classrooms.

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Is It Good For Learning?

ReadWorks Digital's content easily lends itself to differentiation and supports students' acquisition of vocabulary skills while building background knowledge. In addition to its regular content, the site includes access to StepReads passages. These passages provide struggling readers with a more accessible, less complex version of an authentic nonfiction or literary text. StepReads is a great way to keep all students on the same page, and teachers should take full advantage of this feature whenever possible. By assigning passages that include corresponding StepReads selections, teachers can craft all-inclusive lessons that support struggling readers and ELL students without sacrificing the value of a lesson. StepReads preserves all key information, is about the same number of words as the original, and keeps most important academic vocabulary words from the original text while including varied and complex sentences and text structures.

Reading passages also include vocabulary lists, definitions, and examples. Spanish cognates may be listed as well. This makes content particularly accessible to Spanish-speaking English-language learners. In addition, the audio option available for many of the articles makes texts more accessible to readers struggling to read texts on their own. Passages within the Skills & Strategies category provide even further opportunities for differentiation and targeted instruction. This category covers a wide range of reading comprehension topics including Author's Purpose, Character, Main Idea, Plot, Figurative Language, and Cause and Effect.

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