Reading is fundamental. We know this, the challenge is finding resources to use to help teach fundamental skills to our students. We like a variety of resources/tools to use to help engage students. Some of them hit the mark, some of them miss, and some you wonder if they are worth the effort. Commonlit.org is one that certainly hits the mark.
First, if you have never heard of it, you need to check it out. Commonlit.org has texts for students from grades 5-12. You can easily search for texts by typing a search into the search bar, or you can browse the library.
You can also refine your search using the menu at the left of the screen. This allows you to break down your search by grade level, genre, theme, and more.
Commonlit.org not only has the typical multiple choice questions to go with each passage, but it has a writing component as well. The teacher scores the writing component, and it figures your score for the writing into the overall score for each student.
All of these tools are great… but they still don’t compare to what has become my favorite aspect of commonlit.org.
When I taught elementary grades, guided reading groups were where real progress was made with kids. As students advance in grades, guided reading groups diminish in popularity. There are many reasons for this. We now teach 7th and 8th grades, and to be honest, with 50 minute class periods and over a hundred students a day, time simply isn’t there, unfortunately. This is where Commonlit helps make up some ground. Many texts (if not all, there are too many to be certain) have what is called “Guided Reading Mode” built in. While this is no replacement for a good old fashioned reading group, it does force kids to stop at predetermined points and answer questions about the text they are reading.
Of course, what good is it to ask questions if you don’t know how the students are doing on the questions? Well, they have that covered as well. You get data about how kids do that is easy to read. To access this data, simply click the + symbol shown below when you are looking at your assessment summary.
When you do so, you see this:
Obviously, I cut off the names of the students, but you can easily see when students got a question correct in one attempt. If it took more than one attempt, it displays how many attempts it took that student to get the question correct.
Best of all, commonlit.org is FREE! Yes, free. So, if you have not made it over to check it out yet, what are you waiting for?