ReadWorks: A Distance Learning Platform for Reading Comprehension

Post in News by BenCebulash on 7th May 2020


Although ReadWorks can be used in a traditional classroom setting as a print source for texts and materials, it is also a very powerful distance learning platform. Teachers can leverage the reading material with question sets, eBooks, and vocabulary development to create high-impact instruction. It’s also free for both teachers and students.

Getting started with ReadWorks

Signing up for an account is simple. If you go to and choose the “sign-up” button at the top of the page, you will be asked to submit your name, email address, and a password.  Once you are signed in, you can immediately create your class(es). At this point, you can choose to invite students through Google Classroom or directly through Readworks.

ReadWorks, bridges the gap between research and practice in reading comprehension instruction. They use cognitive-science research to create engaging and impactful instructional materials and tools that are designed for immediate use within the practical realities of current U.S. classrooms.

Research-Based Instruction 

Support Provided by ReadWorks 

Provide high-quality, authentic texts for students  Thousands of nonfiction and fiction reading passages 
Students engage with excellent questions based on the text  Thousands of carefully crafted question sets 
Systematically build background knowledge, vocabulary  Article-A-Day routine 
Differentiate among a range of learners  StepReads & audio versions of reading passages 
Explicitly teach key vocabulary  Vocab support and activities for each reading passage 


Features and benefits of ReadWorks

  • There’s a range of nonfiction texts, activities, and assessments that teachers can use to track student progress.
  • Once classes are created, teachers can begin curating reading assignments by grade level, Lexile level, StepReads availability, and whether or not audio is included.
  • Teachers can easily assign passages, corresponding vocabulary lists, and Common Core-aligned question sets to an entire class or to individual students. An easy-to-use Assignments dashboard makes it simple to grade student responses, track progress, and provide direct feedback. Multiple-choice questions are automatically graded, but teachers will have to grade short-answer questions and, if they wish, provide written feedback.
  • The content-rich ReadWorks platform easily lends itself to differentiation and supports students’ development of vocabulary skills and background knowledge.
  • Convenient features such as the ability to curate lists and view assignments over time make it easy to monitor student progress.
  • Lessons are thorough, with familiar and easy-to-navigate sections, and unit activities include graphic organizers and worksheets that support extended responses and critical analysis.
  • Passages within the Skills & Strategies category provide even further opportunities for differentiation and targeted instruction, covering a wide range of reading concepts including author’s purpose, inferencing, plot, fact and opinion, and more.
  • In addition to its regular content, the site includes access to StepReads passages, which provide struggling readers with a more accessible, less complex version of authentic nonfiction or literary texts. Teachers can use this to scaffold lessons and support students’ needs without sacrificing quality.
  • Many passages also include an audio option for those who struggle with written text or simply prefer to supplement their reading with audio.
  • Reading passages include vocabulary lists, definitions, examples, and in many cases, Spanish cognates, making content particularly accessible to Spanish-speaking ELLs. Keep in mind that students can only access content that teachers have assigned, so consistency will be key in promoting development of students’ reading skills across content areas.

Some of the newer features inside ReadWorks include the Student Library – a place for students to continue reading, learning, and growing. There is also the Reading/Mindset Snapshot, a survey style tracker that is designed to capture a student’s love of reading and the subject matter they are interested in pursuing. Finally, there is the Class Book of Knowledge where you can keep track of your Article-A-Day sharing activities from your Assignment tab.

Consider, as we move further down the road of distance and remote learning, to use platforms that are set-up to support this type of teaching and learning. ReadWorks is a one-stop answer for English and ELL instructors to deliver quality content to their students right from home.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our schools and learning, Teq is making all of our PD courses on OTIS for educators FREE to help schools and districts implement distance learning and online professional development.

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