How I Use It
I use Readworks as a bellwether for myself and a boost to my instruction. As a bellwether it gives really great examples of key shifts in literacy when looking at the common core. This helps me to see if I'm changing and improving my instruction to be ready for the common core. On top of that they give a ton of example lesson plans, complete with lesson materials and some explanation of things like vocab and necessary background knowledge. This gives me something I can peg my own lesson plans and execution to, it helps me to up the quality of my lesson planning to be the same, if not better than what is on the site (hopefully better...). By using these lesson plans I also boost my own instruction, having the framework and connection to CCSS right off the bat helps me to be more creative, go deeper with my students, and differentiate more for individual, or small groups of, students. It takes a lot of work out of lesson planning when their lessons sync up with my scope and sequence and give me a lot more freedom/time to go above and beyond. Even though the resources are curated and created by "experts", some lessons will still fall short of where you want to go or do not have all the proper scaffolding/activities that may be needed for ELL and Low Literacy students. Also, some of the texts are actually books which is great, because kids love real books instead of black and white print outs, but does mean I need to plan ahead and get to the library or Amazon to have the book ready to go. That being said I've found the books choices to be varied and engaging for my students. Make sure you check out the "Research Base" section under "Lesson & Units" to see how they're framing their work and how you can push your own instruction.
Overall Readworks is a great resource, I love that it has a framework all set up for me for each lesson. That being said the teacher facing lesson plan is not super in depth and could provide more specific book pages to stop on and more higher level questioning ideas. Also I would love to see some deeper vocabulary practices like gross-motor interaction and vocab visualizations/charts being added to their lessons to help ELL/Low Literacy students even more. I did like using it as a spring board to creating my own lessons and as a benchmark for where my instruction is. Readworks is a great resource that I hope continues to grow into having more specific teaching points and more comprehensive teaching techniques and activities.