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Readworks.org - Teach Reading Comprehension

Teaching reading to students of any age can be overwhelming. The volume of skills and strategies children need to acquire, along with the need to select appropriate materials, can overwhelm the best teacher. Readworks.org, a site which helps to address the challenges of teaching literacy, provides teachers with a well-organized framework for effectively organizing instruction.

A large collection of passages is also provided, saving teachers time while providing developmentally appropriate reading selections to accompany the lessons.

Where to Begin

The site features a long list of lesson plans for commonly taught skills. The Lessons and Units page provides a great starting point for educators.


The Readworks.org site contains a substantial amount of information.

It includes useful information about the way research informed the content on the site. A comprehensive FAQ page addresses general questions, as well as more curriculum-specific and technical issues.

The Frequently Asked Questions page is extensive.


The creators of Readworks also understand the increasing importance of standards, and offer teachers two options for connecting the learning standards to their lessons. A drop-down menu includes a state-by-state list as well as a choice of popular reading programs. Additionally, each lesson page lists the standards it addresses.

Standards Alignment
You can connect standards based on your state or reading program.

Focus on Key Skills

Twenty key reading skills, including author’s purpose, cause and effect, main idea and theme, have in-depth lessons for kindergarten through sixth grade. A closer look at the Drawing Conclusions unit for Grade 3 shows two lessons, with included passages, unit extension ideas, and additional suggested titles for reinforcing the skills.

Drawing Conclusions
A closer look at the lesson on drawing conclusions.

Ideas for expanding upon the skills.

Level-Appropriate Texts

Selecting texts which are level-appropriate and provide the best support for a reading skill is challenging and time-consuming. The site contains over 1,000 non-fiction passages for grades two through six. The widespread implementation of Common Core Learning Standards, which bring newfound emphasis to non-fiction, poses new challenges to teachers who are accustomed to using fiction to teach reading skills. The passages include questions, which help students practice the strategies while building the background knowledge necessary for overall reading success.

Books Passages at Readworks.org
A large library of passages, with lists of suggested texts, is available.

Lessons for students in kindergarten through fourth grade are based on read-aloud lessons. The fifth and sixth grade units are based on novels, which are leveled using both Lexiles and the Fountas and Pinnell system.

Additional Resources

Many teachers find the reading levels of their students vary widely, and include both students with special needs and students who are learning English as a second language. Differentiating lessons is a way teachers can meet the wide range of needs in their classrooms. Readworks includes basic but useful information on how to differentiate reading lessons using its resources.

An offering of tips for differentiation.

Readworks includes more than just lessons and reading passages. The site is packed with research to help teachers made the best instructional decisions for their students.
Research into best practices in teaching reading continues to support the use of interactive read alouds as a means for helping students develop and strengthen their literacy skills. Short audio presentations on the importance of read-alouds and how to plan an effective read aloud are also included.

There are great resources on planning read alouds at Readworks.org.

Readworks is a well-organized and exceptionally comprehensive site for teaching reading comprehension. Elementary teachers, regardless of subject focus, will find a terrific source for lessons and supporting materials, with a solid research base.

Written November 5, 2012 by Tracy Derrel


User Reviews & Comments

09/24/2014 marcelle Francis
Tale of a Singing Zebra is a wonderful book for ESL and grade one students.

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