Exploring Software and Websites to Support Reading Comprehension

As teachers, we look for new ways to present information all...the...time, don't we? Pinterest, blog posts, Facebook, TPT, Instagram, and websites are all sources of help for teachers, and teachers are great at sharing lesson ideas they find. Today, I thought I'd do some sharing too. We have been exploring software and websites to support our kiddos with comprehension, so I'll share a review of what we've learned.


If you're looking for nonfiction articles by multiple levels, you definitely should check out Newsela. Educators can use the free version to access printable articles, quizzes, and writing prompts that go with them, but the PRO version looks amazing and allows the teacher to track student progress and gives the kids online tools they can use for Close Reading. Because it is web based, kids can work on them at school and at home, and you can select/assign specific articles that focus on specific skills. I love this feature and that the articles come at various Lexile levels. I also love that they have grouped articles into text sets for deeper reading and reflection. The pricing isn't cheap, but it is comparable to similar web based programs. 


Flocabulary is another site with several options. There is a teacher only version where the teacher can access videos and resources for modeling as well as a PRO version that allows your students to each have an account. This site is based on short videos done to rap that explain things like text features, characterization, summarizing, etc. The teacher can play the video as a mini lesson and follow it with the resources provided. 

I like the fact that it gives you another teaching strategy for presenting the information. Some kids need multiple teaching methods to get a skill to sink in, and some will latch on to the rhythm of the videos and keep the info front and center. The PRO version, like NEWSELA, allows the teacher to tailor the instruction to the needs of the child.


Many have used Readworks, but did you know it's gone digital? The teachers in my school enjoy using Ipads for stations, so this gives them the option of selecting articles related to teaching themes or content areas for use on the Ipad. I took a look at articles about life cycles and found many different options by grade level. 

But Readworks has so much more...

Readworks also includes skill and strategy units, novel materials, and mentor text lessons. I looked at Comprehension Units for third grade, and the list of mentor texts included was great. Here are just a few of the great titles:
The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The True Story of the Three Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
The best thing about Readworks is that it is all free, so most definitely, check it out and see what you can use to help your instruction.


Are you looking for ways to work on fluency and comprehension using the technology you have? Check out this post for a review of five literacy websites you might be interested in.For a long time, I've been a fan of all of the Learning A-Z products and have subscribed to Reading A-Z. It is honestly worth the subscription price to be able to access all that is included, and I use these materials for tutoring students all the time, but there are other program options from Learning A-Z that are worth a look too. 

Our school has used RAZ kids to help our primary readers with fluency. Students enjoy reading along with the stories and there are comprehension questions which go with the books, but now they've come out with a RAZ kids PLUS which combines some of the features of Reading A-Z with RAZ kids to give students additional options. Teachers set the students reading range, and kids can access the books at school and home. It also has a parent reporting option so that the teacher can communicate student progress in a snap.

In addition to leveled books, there are other assignment options such as Close Reading passages, decodable books, alphabet books, trade books, and classics. For just a little more money, teachers get two programs in one purchase. I think we'll be making the switch at my school.


Another free reading option is with Read Theory. Read Theory is simply passage reading and assessment. If you need something for test prep, you might give this a try. There is an initial assessment that students complete for placement, and then, the site gives students worked at their level. There are a large number of passages and quizzes, so running out won't be a problem. It gives a "report card" to the student with feedback. The passages are based on Lexile level.

What sites do you enjoy using? If you have a favorite, please link up the site in the space below to share with others and have a wonderful weekend!

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