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EDDL 5111 Blog Post #4 – Evaluation of ‘ReadWorks”

ReadWorks is a free web based reading comprehension site which has been developed on the science behind what makes readers successful.  It offers a variety of different texts to support students in building their comprehension skills and is used by more than five million educators and 30 million students. The passages are aligned with the scope and sequence of the United States of America’s curriculum standards which allows teachers to create a class and assign individual reading texts based on the core reading standard while addressing the reading level of each student. The assignments can automatically be graded upon completion and the teacher can offer highlights to sections, provide direct feedback, and track student progress using the dashboard.  https://www.readworks.org/# 


Question Comments
The technology supports student engagement, collaboration and collective learning amongst students. YES 


  • Students are unable to collaborate with projects on books they are assigned the same book and are working together face to face in a group discussion.
  • There are a variety of topics that are engaging for all readers including fiction, non fiction, poetry
  • Book studies can be assigned to a group to discuss and work on together.
The technology is accessible, time-efficient and the navigation is user-friendly.  YES
  • There is some time needed for professional development on the teacher’s end to fully understand the potential of the program and set up their class.
  • Students are assigned texts by the teacher and can easily find the materials in their student libraries.
  • Easy log in for both teacher and student
  • There are student tutorials available in video format
  • There are teacher 1 page tutorial pages with instructions for login and access already developed that can easily be shared with the student.
  • Offline mode so students can access materials and work on them if they do not have wifi capability
The technology is internationally accessible, and considers the cultural background of students. NO
  • This site is intended for the United States
  • All data bases are located in the United States
  • All texts are available in English
  • There is access to a variety of languages on the site such as Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Haitian in translation mode.
The technology meets FIPPA privacy guidelines YES
  • No individual student information is collected on accounts. Information is saved from educators setting up account at a school level
  • ReadWorks does not collect geolocation data, biometric or health data, or behavioral data
  • Student use is stored anonymously 
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted accounts
  • Profiles are not shared for social interactions
  • The laws of New York govern this site
The technology aligns with UDL and is adaptable for IELPs YES
  • Listen to assignments with audio that is in a human voice or a computer based voice for multiple texts
  • Highlight and annotate as student works through an online book
  • Build student background knowledge
  • Ability to choose any grade level from K-12 and set the Lexile level to match your student’s ability.
  • Specific texts developed for ELL learners
  • Distraction free tools built in which allows students to expand the text, removing the clutter from their screen to focus on the text and questions. 
  • Text magnification allows students to enlarge text and the reading strip helps tracking
The technology has built in tools for assessment and evaluation. YES
  • Use built-in alignments, levels and differentiation
  • Automatic grading and view assessment data
  • Integration available through Clever Library and Google Classroom 
  • Students can see their progress and results as they move through each book
  • Data sets prepared for teachers on an individual and a class level
The technology can be adapted to all K-12 learners.  YES
  • Access more than 5000 high-quality texts
  • Texts available in fiction, non fiction, and prose for K-12 learners and adults.
The technology accommodates neurodiversity. YES
  • Build students’ knowledge through listening-level comprehension with Article-A-Day, while helping them practice decoding with meaningful, continuous nonfiction texts.
  • Webinars are available to help teachers understand how to use Readworks for neurodiversity
    • Differentiation through content
    • Differentiation through supports
    • Hybrid and remote learning
  • Teachers can create groups of students based on similar educational learning goals
The technology is used for higher order thinking skills as well as innovative and creative problem solving.   YES
  • Increase reading stamina with Article-A-Day
  • Deeper Dive Book Studies excite students with engaging topics related to the books.
  • Challenge texts available at K through 12.
The technology helps to provide evidence that students have met the learning outcomes.  YES
  • Knowledge Book Studies build deep knowledge around key content
  • Theme Book Studies inspire thematic reflection and discussions
  • Support core curricula with Book Studies
The technology is reliable and cost effective.  YES
  • Non profit run organization
  • Membership is free for educators and students
  • Free professional development sessions are available to support teachers personally or at a school level.
The technology is user friendly for the instructor and problem solving support is available.  YES
  • There are a variety of teacher support pages available with free webinars that walk a new teacher through the process of using ReadWorks;
    • How to use ReadWorks
    • Understanding the use of the variety of tools available such as articles a day, vocabulary lessons, decoding, paired texts, and word detectives.
  • Provided suggested models to run a reading program for new teachers but it is flexible to meet the needs of the teacher or classroom.



  1. glammie

    Hi Helen, thanks for sharing a comprehensive review of ReadWorks. ReadWorks appears to be a technology learning tool that can significantly enhance students’ comprehension and reading levels, essential skills required to master all subject areas. I am particularly impressed with its UDL and IELPs adaptability, helping to meet students where they are at all learning levels while attending to diverse learning needs.

  2. lpeter

    Hi Hannah,
    Thank you for sharing this great resource! It reminds me a bit of CommonLit, which is another USA-based reading comprehension tool. ReadWorks looks like it’s easy to navigate for teachers and students. I like that is gives you the choice of a human voice or a computer voice for the read-aloud.
    I like that it gives the lexile levels of the texts as well. This helps when trying to find a high-interest, low-lexile text for struggling readers.

    • hwinsnes

      HI Leena,
      I have not heard of CommonLit. Is it free as well? Always good to have several tools at your disposal.

  3. Jason Fech

    Hannah, this is a good piece of software that checks all of the boxes. Our checklist does ask about higher order thinking skills but it does not ask about pedagogical fit. We have a great screening tool, but I think we also need to divert to subject matter specialists when considering software.
    Our school board has reviewed this software for use and deemed that ReadWorks can be used as a resource that supplements our reading programs. Teachers are not able to use its assessment data as it does not align with curricular outcomes and our literacy approach.
    Some teachers in my school have used this but we have had to have conversations about the reliance on this tool for reading instruction. It is easy to go into auto-pilot with this and assume reading levels are accurate and that progression is being made. Our teachers have come to understand that the comprehension questions at the end of each story are mainly recall-based and I believe deeper thinking about themes for example, are not well-covered. These questions would require conversation in the classroom as they would be more interpretive in nature and require collaborative reflection. Student engagement around the questions tends to be low as becomes a “make-work” project as the stories are random and do not connect to what is happening in the classroom.

    • hwinsnes

      Thank you for this insight, Jason. It is interesting to hear how your school/division has done it’s own evaluation on this technology. I agree that you need to be careful that you are not just running with something because it is easy and the fact that the curriculum does not match is very important. It is a good tool for sure, kind of like IXL for math but purpose for everything is the first question that needs to be evaluated. Love the idea of adding in pedagogical fit.

  4. gjohnson

    Hannah, I read your review of this software with interest. It is always good to have additional tools in the proverbial tool box – especially for free. It seems that once free programs become more widely used, they eventually turn into a fee-based program. It was also interesting to read Jason’s comments and I would agree that teachers should not simply go on “auto pilot” with any particular program. I think that ReadWorks would make a very good supplemental resource for any teacher and I will be seeing how this can add to my current reading program.

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