This article is written by former New Jersey first grade teacher, Felicia Niven.
Reading is one of the most important skills that we teach. Providing material at a student’s level is key to helping him or her cultivate a love for reading.
We’ve added to our list of leveled reading websites with some new favorites. These sites offer free, high-quality leveled reading passages for your students. For a look at Part 1 of this series, click here.
This site offers educators free access to an expansive digital library of popular books. You can create book collections to share with your students. Teachers and students can search by fiction or nonfiction and Lexile level. There’s also a read-aloud option and a dictionary look-up. However, it’s worth noting that your class login code is only active from 7 am to 3 pm when school is in session. This site is best for in-school use, where teachers can curate the content. Parents have to pay for after-school use and there are mixed reviews about the ability to easily source appropriate grade-level material.
National Geographic’s student magazines are no longer in print, but the organization has compiled an impressive selection by grade level on its website. With adventurous names for each grade level, from Pathfinder to Pioneer, the titles alone are inspiring. The issues are beautifully illustrated, taking full advantage of nature videos to illustrate some articles. Issues are both in English and Spanish for bilingual readers. You’re provided passwords and QR codes that you can share with students so they may read on their digital devices. There’s also a teacher’s guide that includes lessons, Lexile levels, worksheets, and assessments for each story. Some stories are even linked to Kahoot quizzes.
Newsela offers thousands of news articles for free, but you must create an account to access them. Content is aligned to state standards, with 5 different reading levels. Content is well suited for ELA, social studies, and science, and originates from such sources as Smithsonian, Associated Press, Highlights, and Scientific American. Your customized news library is curated by grade level. There is a filter for elementary content so that your students will only see age-appropriate content. Teachers can assign stories and monitor student progress.
Students take a pre-test that assesses their reading level and then are assigned weekly leveled reading practice. The passages are. similar to those found on standardized tests, but sometimes a bit longer, and they come with quizzes to assess comprehension. Students who score well will gradually increase in difficulty. Those who score poorly will be given easier passages to boost confidence. Teachers can track and monitor performance against Lexile Levels. A paid version of this site allows the assignment of customized passages and more activities such as reading competitions.
(Grades PreK to 6)
While schools have to pay for Reading IQ, you can apply for a free individual teacher account. The site gives you access to thousands of leveled books, fiction, and nonfiction, all organized by topic and grade level. There are picture books, chapter books, biographies, STEM books, and more. The stories have a real book feel, with pages that “turn.” Prereaders have the option for the book to be read aloud to students, and there are also guided reading options. For home access for students and other options, there is a paid version.
RIF has a collection of leveled reading passages by grade and Lexile level. Texts are designed for independent reading and may be downloaded as PDFs and printed. There are easy, medium, and hard versions of the same content. However, books linked to the texts do come with a cost, if you choose to incorporate those.
(Upper Elementary – High School)
With Rewordify, you can easily take a text passage and create a simpler version. The site highlights and defines challenging words and phrases. This is ideal if you’re trying to accommodate different levels in your class with the same text. Rewordify also offers a range of classic literature, from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer to War and Peace. In addition, there are options for customized word lists and vocabulary quizzes and you can add links to online lesson plans. The free version lets you do a lot, but a paid account is necessary if you want to save and print documents.
Not surprisingly, teachers have developed their own leveled reading passages. It’s worth a visit to TeachersPayTeachers to find options for no-prep digital and printable passages. There are many available for free, and the list is constantly updated.
We’d love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite leveled reading website that you’d like to share? Write it in the comments.
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