Monday, October 17, 2016

Levelled Online Texts for Secondary Students

Do you have any websites where I I can find READING material that looks like it is at secondary level but is really written at a much lower reading level?

I have received this question in several forms over the last little while, so I thought it might be useful to share some of my responses. I am going to list my favourite 6 resources here... as a place to start this conversation. I would love to hear about other sites you use! Please leave a comment or send me an email and I will keep this post updated.

  1. is a FREE online program that allows teachers to create classes online. Students log in, take a placement test and then read and answer questions based on their placement scores. Several teachers in the district LOVE this site. It is FREE and they say it will remain free; they sell print booklets to sustain the business model. You can read about the service in the FAQs.  
  2. writes on their site that “ CommonLit delivers high-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12. Our resources are: Flexible; Research-Based; Aligned to the Common Core State Standards; Created by teachers, for teachers. We believe in the transformative power of a great text, and a great question. That’s why we are committed to keeping CommonLit completely free, forever.” Teachers can create classes and assign texts. Read more on their FAQ page.
  3. Newela is a cool little site that offers news articles at different reading levels. For example, it will provide 5 levelled versions of the same news articles. There are also online quizzes (and the accompanying progress monitoring) available. Some of you may recall the NEWELA paper copies that schools used to be able to purchase….this site is the next iteration of that service. It is a PAID site, but the content  is engaging and available on a variety of devices. Here is a link to their promo video. Cost roughly $14/student.
  4. Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan Public libraries have a ton of online material that is FREE for students (who live within their service areas). One of the online book services is called Hoopla, which has over 165 online ebooks. This file (which you can access with your email) is a list of Hoopla titles with their corresponding lexile levels. (It is possible to have lexile scores added to the STAR reports.) As always, when dealing with lexiles, realize it is an imperfect measure and teacher/reader discretion is still necessary.
  5. The Online Reference Centre has many levelled resources. Specifically, you could check out the following databases for their levelled resources for reluctant/striving readers. The articles are tagged as Hi, Med, and  Low. I have previously written about using the ORC as a source for differentiation material here.
    1. Power Knowledge Science databases (there are three databases)
    2. Britannica School
    3. National Geographic database - great stuff for building vocab and background knowledge, engaging, etc  (young-ish, but it's NG, so it is awesome)
    4. - provided lexile and qualitative levelling of novels for teachers. I have written about this before here.
  6. Actively Learn  is probably my favourite in this list. It is an amazing online tools to help group students and provide levelled online reading experiences that are also social. Lots of room in the program to adapt to your class--you can upload your content or use their content, create quizzes and reading groups, provide opportunities for annotation and discussion. It also integrated well with Google Classroom. It is NOT free, however. Although the trial to view or to use infrequently or with a few students is free. If you want to have the power of the system for a whole class you will need to pay. Starts at $18/month per class. Might be worthwhile to try with ONE class to see if the tools are useful for developing reading skills with your kiddos. The videos on this page are worth a watch.

These six site should give you a place to start, if you are looking for online reading to match individual reading levels. I’d LOVE to hear if you are using other tools.


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