Furnishing the Mind with Great Sources – ReadWorks®

Feb 22, 2024 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

IEW is widely recognized for exceptional writing courses for the homeschool, classroom, co-op, and tutorial, providing students with excellent content to cover a wide range of subject matter and topics. Whether you use Structure and Style for Students video courses or theme-based writing lessons or create source texts from your curricular materials, there may be circumstances that call for additional sources for your students. You might need source texts to give your students extra practice in a particular unit or skill, to write across the curriculum, or to offer a variety of references at students’ reading levels for reports and essays. Perhaps you would like to implement a classroom practice that Andrew Pudewa’s mentor Dr. James B. Webster called filtering—a process that moves students from class-directed assignments to independent writing assignments. Whether you are a busy parent, teacher, or tutor, if having a resource of easy-to-access quality sources is a priority, consider adding ReadWorks® to your list of resources. 

What is ReadWorks?
ReadWorks is an Edtech nonprofit organization, founded in 2010 as an online platform to help teachers meet the national reading crisis by providing free resources that contribute to improved reading comprehension. Since its inception ReadWorks has been used by over five million educators and thirty million students. It offers accessible, leveled, standards-aligned content—fiction and nonfiction—on a wide variety of topics and follows current research on the science of reading. The platform is free to use and is suitable for homeschooling, classrooms, co-ops, tutoring, or hybrid learning environments. ReadWorks is designed for reading instruction, but the quality and variety of subject matter available on the platform make it an excellent option for alternative source texts for writing instruction.

What kind of content is available from ReadWorks?
Currently, ReadWorks offers over 5,600 reading passages covering topics in the arts, social studies, and science, including an extensive collection aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). ReadWorks partners with museums and other cultural institutions such as the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, the History Channel, The Wall Street Journal, News-O-Matic, and the Audubon Society for content. Additionally, there are special collections from their featured ReadWorks partners: the American Museum of Natural History, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Along with its comprehensive library of passages, ReadWorks features its highly-rated Article-A-Day™ sets. Subscribers to ReadWorks’s newsletters receive an email each month with up-to-date information for content geared to holidays and commemorative observances such as Native American Heritage Month, Constitution Day, and Christmas, as well as current events topics.

The range of content is easily searchable using ReadWorks’s filters. Search by type of passage, subject, grade level, and genre (nonfiction, fiction, or poetry). You can adjust your search by word count and Lexile level, and you can add human-voice audio to your search if your students would benefit from that support. Visit the ReadWorks website for more information or to view an introductory webinar to learn more about ReadWorks resources, tools, and content. 

How can I use ReadWorks to support my IEW writing instruction? 
ReadWorks provides a variety of sources in eight main topic categories. Filters are available to narrow your search as described in the previous paragraph. For writing assignments, remember to select passages that are at or below students’ reading levels. In the screenshot below, a search for nonfiction science passages about the brain for grades seven and eight resulted in a match of twenty-three items. The selected filters are identified across the top of the list of matches.

General information and a portion of the first paragraph are provided for each passage in your search results to help you determine which one(s) to select for your students. You will need to create an account in order to read the passage, print it for your students, or save it to your list. This will give you access to all areas of the platform. There is no cost to use ReadWorks because it receives funding from donors and supporting organizations. 

Webinars are available for parents, teachers, and school or district-level administrators to learn how to use ReadWorks in the classroom, home, or small group. The introductory webinar describes available resources, including how to use the student library and reading passages, differentiate for individuals and groups of students, and navigate the site to easily print, project, or use ReadWorks’s digital tools. ReadWorks is compatible with the digital learning management systems: Google Classroom, Canvas, and Seesaw. 

At IEW, we are proud that the Structure and Style writing method is recognized by parents, teachers, and school administrators as a powerful and effective way to teach students to write well and improve and support their reading skills. When you need an additional resource for reliable content at the click of a mouse, ReadWorks can assist you in furnishing your students with supplementary high-quality source texts for writing instruction. 

by Jean Nichols

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