Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2016

ReadWriteThink

Excellent free resource for all things reading and writing

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (36 Reviews)

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Pros: Quality lesson plans go above and beyond the average free site; there's just so much great content to choose from.

Cons: A bulletin board, social network, or some other way for teachers to chat and share would be an excellent asset.

Bottom Line: A language arts teacher's dream; lesson plans, professional development, and all-around quality support.

You can easily integrate lesson plans and activities into classroom use. Everything is so well-organized that you'll know exactly how to find what you're looking for and exactly which standards are being met. The huge number of resources here almost guarantees you'll find something that works. The professional development section is pretty helpful, too, with strategy guides and information on meetings, events, and online seminars for language arts and literacy teachers.

Teachers could also encourage families at home to engage their child in reading or writing by visiting the Parent & After-School Resources section, where experts have created fun and educational materials to supplement at home what children are learning at school. Teachers can find out how best to use the site by viewing videos such as "Literacy in Action," "Presentations," and "How to Use RWT."

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ReadWriteThink is an online resource that contains lessons, interactive activities, printables, and an app to help kids improve their reading and writing skills. From the IRA (International Reading Association) and NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), the site serves language arts teachers from pre-K through 12th grade.

The site is organized into the sections Classroom Resources, Professional Development, Videos, and Parent & Afterschool Resources. Each heading contains hundreds of unit plans, lesson plans, and activities, each divided by subject, learning objective, and grade level. While ReadWriteThink is focused primarily on language arts, materials for science, math, history, and life skills can be found here as well. There are also over 50 interactives or Flash-based games and widgets for kids, everything from a "Book Cover Creator" to a "Theme Poems" game and more. Interactives can also be saved in case it takes a student more than one class period to finish. Lastly, a literacy calendar makes it easy to find important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and different holidays (with resources attached to them) to make these special days relevant to students.

ReadWriteThink is a gift for language arts teachers, and it just keeps on giving. There's simply a wealth of high-quality and accessible content here. It's a particularly great resource if you consider that it's completely free. ReadWriteThink claims that all curriculum on the site is reviewed by "at least two literacy educators." Writers for the site are vetted as literacy experts, many of whom are NCTE members and professional educators. Resources are considered classroom-tested and evidence-based.

Kids will enjoy the fun interactives, and teachers will be grateful for the standards alignment and easy-to-follow lesson plans. Content covers everything from vocabulary to reading skills, podcast creation, and everything in between. There are plenty of after-school activities here as well. The ReadWriteThink app allows students to engage in literacy-learning using tablet devices. No internet connection is needed for the app once it's downloaded. A social network, or some other way for teachers to get involved, chat with one another, and collaborate could push this site over the top.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The site hosts some games for kids, but ReadWriteThink is mainly a resource for teachers. There are hundreds of engaging activities, lesson plans, and printables for educators to use in designing curricula for their students.

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

Lesson plans and activities are well-designed -- by experts -- and encourage depth of learning. Many of the games have subject matter seamlessly baked in.

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

ReadWriteThink's design is clean, and information is easy to access. This is good, considering just how much is here. They also have a collection of resources and tips in Spanish that parents could use at home.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 36 reviews) (36 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Megan S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Neil Armstrong 5-6 Middle School
Bethel Park, United States
Create a comic from a plot mountain
The comic creator was very user friendly. Students only to drag their characters, backgrounds, props, or word bubbles to the comic cell. All levels of learners were able to complete it. All learners were able to add their own "personality" to the dialogue providing for differences in the learning levels. The comic creator was a great way for students to have their story in comic form--something the students thought was pretty cool. What I would change would be to give the students the ability to change the sizes of the characters, props, or dialogue bubbles. There seemed to be a glitch sometimes that would not allow the students to go back to a previous cell without losing all info. There is no ability to save so students must finish it in one sitting. I would also like the students to be able to change the font.
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