Teacher Tap

tip iconReading Level through Varied Resources

In most classrooms, students read at a wide range of reading levels. Students need varied resources to meet their reading needs. While it's necessary to challenge young readers, it's also important not to overwhelm beginning readers with materials that are too difficult. This can present a problem when faced with online reading opportunities that are not designed for a particular reading level.

Because so much of today's content is available online, it's important that learners have experiences reading from a computer screen. For instance, resources such as Starfall provide practice with screen-based reading.

Online Reading

Young people spend lots of time on the computer surfing, browsing, and playing games. However how much time do they actually spend reading? Students need experiences reading for comprehension using the computer screen. This involves learning to reading, skim, scan, and scroll through online content.

Example: A More Perfect Union

Rather than thinking in terms of "going to websites," look for specific pages that contain quality content, stories, or other information. Then, design activities to meet specific content-area needs.

go to teacher tapExplore Electronic Books and Online Reading from Teacher Tap.
See materials to meet the diverse reading needs of your children.

Readability and Leveled Reading

Be sure that you're selecting resources to meet the varied reading needs of your students. Many tools are available for evaluating the readability of text.

Go to Readability Test from wikipedia for links to readability surveys. Online tools such as OKAP can be used to check the reading level of up to 200 words from a website.

Leveled reading materials are used in guided reading programs. Young people are given materials that match their developmental reading stage. Resources such as the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) Levels and Lexile Levels can be helpful in matching learners to materials.

Read What Is Leveled Reading? from Scholastic.

naturescapesExplore Naturescape.
Notice how three levels are provided along with a WebQuest.

Use the resources below locate materials at varied reading levels.


Media Literacy

Can your students read pictures and sounds in addition to text? Twenty-first century learners need opportunities to learn through varied reading channels. For instance, the Creature Feature from National Geographic provides audio, video, maps, text, and other ways to learn about animals. The Animations from How Stuff Works provides animations in addition to text to learn about how things work.

tiny multimedia seeds logoExplore Multimedia Seeds including Audiobooks, Radio & Audio Webcasts, Remote Audio, Remote Music, Video Clips, Streaming Video, Remote TV

Seek audio-rich reading opportunities such as those in Scholastic News Listen & Read.

- Ask a Weather Watcher (Listen & Read)
Here Come the Frogs! (Listen & Read)
- Insect World Records (Listen & Read)
- Growing Up Gater (Listen & Read)
- Meet Mr. President (Listen & Read)
- Welcome Back, Bald Eagles! (Listen & Read)

Reading Comprehension

Why use boring worksheets when you can find things that students will love to read? Use the following resources to check reading comprehension. Or, ask students to summarize or critique an article. Design activities that use the high-interest content to promote reading. Create a Microsoft Word document that includes an motivating title, photograph or other visual related to the topic, links to articles at different reading levels, and a list of questions or problem to solve.

differentiate activityDifferentiate! Create an activity and provide online readings at three different reading levels. Or, identify resources at different "thinking levels" or with different intelligences such as audio, video, graphics.



Review the "big ideas" on this page:

Twenty-first century literacy requires that young people can skim, scan, and scroll through screen-based information. They must be able to read and comprehend online content including text, images, audio, and video.

Leveled reading materials are used in guided reading programs. Online tools can be used to analyze web-based content for readability.

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