Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2017


Text-leveling tool gives every student access to complex readings

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learning

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Quick and easy to adapt text to various levels of complexity with high levels of customization.

Cons: The old-school interface could organize info better.

Bottom Line: This utilitarian differentiation tool is useful enough to be in every teacher's toolbox.

Teachers can use the website to scaffold reading tasks. Using a tiered model, teachers can enhance students' comprehension by offering a variety of levels of the same text. The Learning Activities (which accompany each text) can be used to build vocabulary and track mastery data with students -- although these activities are typical worksheet-style learning. A more powerful use of the tool would be to put students in the driver's seat. Introduce students to Rewordify (either as a site or as a bookmarklet for their browser), and let them import text they'd like to read and customize the options to support their own needs. Teachers should, however, be wary of students relying too heavily on this tool at the expense of developing their own decoding skills. Teachers might also encourage students to try out the Learning Sessions when reading leveled text to learn new words.

Teachers should also take note of Rewordify's Educator Walkthrough as well as the printable getting started resources.

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Rewordify is a free reading and vocabulary tool for building reading fluency and vocabulary. Rewordify's main feature is its automatic simplification of texts. Users import text by pasting it into the website or using a browser bookmarklet. Once the text is imported, it can be customized to make reading more accessible to a variety of learners. The website uses a computer-based natural language processing system to simplify the text while maintaining the meaning. The reading level can be changed at any time and aligns well with Lexile reading measures. Four styles of word substitution are available, including changing words into less complex vocabulary, providing clickable links on challenging words to see substitutions, and a two-column display with unaltered text next to the simplified version. In addition to simplifying the text, users can quickly create a variety of Learning Activities (available as printables) such as matching quizzes, cloze reading passages, and vocabulary lists. The site offers audio support, reading words to users, and creating audio learning activities. Teachers can create a virtual library of the text they are using that can be kept private or shared with the Rewordify community. Open source literary texts, such as Frankenstein, are also readily available for users.

One of the highlights of the website is how well it adapts to and charts student learning. Using student accounts, teachers can track how well students are mastering vocabulary. As students learn new words, Rewordify will no longer provide substitutions, slowly raising the text complexity for individual learners.

Rewordify is a dependable resource for learning, with highly useful tools for differentiation and building students' reading fluency and comprehension. While it's not the most modern tool in terms of design and user onboarding, it's still easy enough to figure out, and busy teachers will appreciate how it helps them quickly differentiate texts and build worksheets (although these worksheets aren't the most pedagogically innovative). If teachers really dig in and have students create accounts, the site's data collection and tracking provide clear evidence of its efficacy. One potential pitfall of Rewordify, however, is its reliance on a computer algorithm to simplify text. While the algorithm seems to do a good job, some of the nuance and deeper meaning can be lost by letting a computer take on the job of carefully crafting classroom readings. Teachers should work closely with students to make sure these aspects of readings aren't lost when students level their texts.

Overall Rating

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

It's incredibly easy for teachers and students to use. Many options are available to customize text for a variety of reading levels and needs. While it's not beautiful or fun, it's functional.

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

This highly customizable tool is built on proven ELA principles and strategies. It adapts to student learning by building individualized vocabulary lessons and removing scaffolding as students gain mastery of new words.

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

Videos and tutorials help new users get acquainted with the tools and features quickly. Extensive data and reporting tools are available to track learning.

Common Sense Reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Eric W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
West Ottawa High School Campus
Holland, MI
Simplify or Elaborate Texts to Differentiate Reading
Rewordify is a great tool to help differentiate reading and build vocabulary for every student. The extensive library and cut-and-paste options make it easy to adjust your classroom readings for students at every level. I like the settings options that allow me to adjust the readings to five levels of difficulty as well as how the text is changed. I can choose to have difficult words replace (click on them to see the original) or highlighted (click to see the definition). I prefer to have the original with a simplified word in brackets after it. I can also have the two versions displayed side-by-side or just have a column of vocabulary words and definitions. I just received some PD about reaching my ELL students. I realized the need to provide alternate readings so I can assess if they are having issues at the vocabulary level or at the content comprehension level. Rewordify makes it a ton easier to offer adjusted readings at just the right level. (I also love that it's a free tool.) I haven't experimented with creating a class yet, but I'm excited to try it soon. Rewordify allows teachers to create a class and enroll their students. The teacher can assign reading and follow the students' progress. It'll even create a chart of their vocabulary progress. The user interface is pretty easy to use, but it is a very dry, uninteresting page. It's clear the designers have worked hard to make a utilitarian, no-frills resource without much concern for eye-catching graphics.
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