What is ReadWorks and How Does It Work? Best Tips and Tricks

(Image credit: ReadWorks)

ReadWorks is a reading comprehension tool that is web-based and offers research texts for students to work with. Crucially, it goes beyond just offering reading and also includes assessments.

ReadWorks features lots of different text types, from passages to articles to full-on ebooks. The website is designed to help support reading progress and, as such, has filters to make distributing work correctly very easy. It also offers smart features to help students progress by expertly pushing them at the limit of their ability.

ReadWorks is science-based and uses cognitive research as well as standards-aligned content to help students with their reading comprehension and retention. All this comes from a nonprofit setup that is used by more than five million educators and 30 million students.

So is ReadWorks for you and your classroom?

What is ReadWorks?

ReadWorks is a scientifically researched collection of reading materials and comprehension tools to help students learn and educators teach effectively.


(Image credit: ReadWorks)

ReadWorks continuously studies how various methods affect reading comprehension and applies that learning to what it offers. Consequently, it has developed various types of reading, from its Article-A-Day offering to its StepReads, all designed to help progress students above their natural level.

Lots of resources are available so it pays to have work distributed by educators to help students find the right level for them. The inclusion of assessment tools allows teachers to work with and monitor students so they can continue to advance at a suitable rate.

How does ReadWorks work?

ReadWorks is free to use and provides a powerful platform comprising reading resources, assessment tools, and easy sharing to allow teachers to set work for in-class and at-home use.


(Image credit: ReadWorks)

Texts come in fiction and nonfiction forms and range from passages to ebooks. Usefully, educators can assign certain passages to students along with assessment questions to follow-up the reading. This can then be shared using a link or class code, via Google Classroom for example, over email, or any other method.

Once a class is created teachers can vary the assignments as well as the standards-aligned questions. These come in short answer format but also in multiple choice, which can automatically be graded upon completion. 

It is possible to grade students, offer highlights to sections, provide direct feedback, and track progress using the dashboard. More on these tools below.

What are the best ReadWorks features?

ReadWorks is a complete assignment and assessment tool that comes with a teacher dashboard that allows progress to be monitored for students and groups.


(Image credit: ReadWorks)

When assigning work, there is a selection of filters that allow teachers to search for texts by grade level, topic, content type, activity type, lexile level, and more.

The content type breaks down into some helpful special offerings. The StepReads offer a less complex version of original passages that retain all the integrity of vocabulary, knowledge, and length, only while adapting it to give access to students who may not yet be able to read at that grade level.

Article-A-Day is another special feature that delivers a 10-minute daily routine to help "dramatically" increase background knowledge, reading stamina, and vocabulary for students.

Question Sets are helpful as these are text-based questions with explicit and inferential types to help build a deeper level of understanding.

Users also have access to a vocabulary assistant, the ability to pair texts, a book studies section, image assisted ebooks, and student tools that allow for text size manipulation, split-screen view, highlighting, annotating, and more.

How much does ReadWorks cost?

ReadWorks is totally free to use and doesn't feature any adverts or tracking.

When you sign up you are encouraged to make a donation as a one-off fee or a monthly amount, but you don't have to if you don't want to. Equally, you can start using this and then make a payment as a donation when you feel it has helped you.

ReadWorks best tips and tricks

Get parental
Have parents create accounts as well so they can assign reading to their kids to further help them learn as the student will know the platform already from working with it in class.

Go daily
Use the Article-A-Day feature to build reading regularity into your students' lives. Do it in class or assign it for at home.

Use audio
Take advantage of the audio narration feature to help students try more challenging reading options while being guided.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.