Thursday, October 30, 2014

The FIVE Best Differentiated Reading Websites

I spent my first four or five years of co-teaching and supporting students in the inclusive classroom by reading grade level nonfiction texts and then slowly rewriting the texts at a lower level. I have entire social studies and science books modified to meet the different needs of students. It was nuts! During my fifth or sixth year, I discovered online reading passages and I've never looked back! Here are my top five favorites.

5. The website: www.manythings.org/voa/history/

    The pros:

  • It's free, free, free! 
  • There is an audio for everything!
  • The audio is done by people and not robots and some of them are GREAT!
  • There are so many nonfiction resources and topics
  • The American History for English Learners is perfect for social studies 
    The Cons:
  • The text is not differentiated so the audio component is important
  • There are no comprehension questions built in but the texts are so rich that it makes it easy to come up with your own
  • It would be great to have more science texts here!

4. The website:www.readinga-z.com

    The pros:

  • It is organized by reading level
  • It is also organized by topic, skill, and teaching focus 
  • There are an incredible number of texts 
    The cons:
  • A lot of people like Reading A-Z and I just don't. I don't have a really strong justification but...
  • It costs money- I recommend your school signing up for this service
  • I personally don't like the format for middle school. 
  • The paper books seem wasteful.
  • The concepts for the lower level texts tend to not have comprehension points that are as strong or meaningful

3. The website: www.school.eb.com 

    The pros:

  • It has a variety of texts at the elementary, middle, and high school levels meaning they have the same concepts at different levels- natural differentiation! 
  • The text can be read aloud 
  •  Each topic has pictures with captions that connect to the content
  • They provide links to other texts that are connected to the topic 
    The Cons:

  • The elementary texts are pretty long and involve higher level vocabulary words.
  • It costs money- I highly recommend that your school signs up
  • It's hard to scroll down and read along with the text when the iPad is reading aloud. 
  • The printed version does not include pictures. 

2. The website: www.readworks.org/books/passages

    The pros:

  •  You can sign up for free!
  •  There are informational and literary passages
  • All the passages are short
  • You can search by topic, grade, lexile level, text type, and strategy

    The cons:

  • There isn't much to complain about- it's a great site. I'd love there to be even more stuff to choose from!

1. The website: www.newsela.com

    The pros:

  • You can sign up for free! 
  • The same texts have been set up to read at different Lexile levels
  • There are comprehension questions connected to each text
  • The texts are current and change each week
  • This is a great site to use for all students for current event assignments

    The cons:

  • It doesn't read the text aloud BUT I use the accessibility tab on the iPad so everything can be read aloud- easy peasy!
  • I wish that they had a literary version of newsela. How wonderful that would be! 




Are there great sites with reading passages that I should know about? Fill me in!

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