Try ReadWorks Digital for Comprehension Skills

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Are you looking for ways to test student comprehension skills online? If so, ReadWorks Digital could be just what you are looking for. This nonprofit company offers a completely free service for teachers that is aimed at making your students more successful readers. They have a library of lexiled, grade level texts that covers both fiction and nonfiction writing, and each selection is paired with a vocabulary work bank and formative assessment questions. Some texts even include text to speech audio. Here’s how it works.

Getting Started With ReadWorks Digital

Teachers can register for free accounts at and then set up the classes that they need. You have a choice of whether you want students to sign in with their Google accounts, or whether you want to create accounts for them. Students go to and enter the class code to register for your class. A default password is given to students when they log in without a Google account. Students can change their passwords to something more memorable, but the teacher can reset passwords at any time too. See the video below for more information.

Searching for Articles

There are a number of ways to find the text that you are looking for. Simply click Find Articles at the top of the page to get started and look to the filters on the left hand sidebar to narrow your results. Articles can be sorted by grade level or lexile level, according to your needs. You can also choose to search for texts that include audio or StepReads. A StepRead is a less complex version of the original article, and allows all your students to be reading the same content, but with some students accessing it at a reading level that is more appropriate to their reading level. (If you are familiar with Newsela, you will know how this works). You can also sort texts by fiction and nonfiction.

Across the top of the search screen you will also see the ability to sort by subject. For instance, you can filter by Social Studies, and then drill down further to articles on Civics and Government. You can do the same with Science and Literature texts. You can also filter by specific reading skills to meet the standards you are assessing. Skills like author’s purpose, fact and opinion, or sequencing can be chosen from this subset. There are also special collections from famous museums. See the video below for more information.

Assigning an Article

When you find the article you want, you can assign it to students by clicking the blue Assign button in the top right-hand corner. You can assign an article to the whole class or to select students. This is also the stage where you choose to include the audio version and/or the StepRead version. You can also choose a start date. This is the date that the article will appear on the student dashboard when they log in. See the video below for more information.

Grading Student Work

All assigned articles come with a set of reading comprehension questions. Once they are answered by students, you can return to your teacher dashboard and click on any assigned article to see the student data. Some questions will ask for a typed answer, so these will need graded manually. The same applies for questions that ask students to draw a picture or complete a task outside of the ReadWorks website. See the video below for more information.


For a free service, ReadWorks Digital has a lot to offer teachers. It’s growing bank of digital texts are engaging and informative. It is a clean, well organized website that even includes Teaching Tips for Teachers who are interested in using their resources with students. There are no mobile apps for ReadWorks Digital, but the website works perfectly well on Macs, PCs, Chromebooks and iPads so I would encourage you to check it out and see how well it could work for your students.

4 thoughts on “Try ReadWorks Digital for Comprehension Skills”

  1. Hi! I am an English teacher with an 8th grade daughter who has been struggling a bit with reading comprehension : ( I have been trying out online reading resources, and I have to say that I really like ReadWorks! I tried CommonLit awhile back, but I think I prefer ReadWorks! The reading selections are varied, and my daughter was a bit more willing to read some of these! Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you like ReadWorks and see some potential in it for your daughter and your students. Thanks for the heads up on CommonLit. That is a new one to me. Maybe I will do a followup blog post comparing the two sites. Are there any others that you like?

      I’m not sure I can do much about your subscription email on my end, but unsubscribing and resubscribing should work.

  2. I have assigned a group of students on their Ipads comprehension questions but when they are on their ipads they are not able to type or choose their answers? Do you know what I am doing wrong? Thanks you

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