Jess Goumas: This session today is on using edtech to enhance evidence-based reading instruction. And so, without further ado, I will start the presentation portion. So my name is Jeff Goumas. I am from CrowdED Learning. CrowdED Learning is a nonprofit organization based here in Chicago, Illinois. And we focus entirely on free and open education resources and finding ways to make it easier for instructors to integrate them into their adult education classrooms.
And so a big part of that is just increasing awareness of the tools that are out there, which is going to be a big part of today's session, but then also understanding strategies for how to integrate them effectively. So when we look at what's been going on for the past three months, everyone's been clamoring to find things to use, things to be able to put students in so that they can be continuing education. And that's awesome. So great. Like, you've got them a Khan Academy account and they're in there. Or maybe you're even using Read Theory, which is one of the resources we'll talk about, and they're in there. And that's excellent. It's great that we are finding and actually using more of these tools with our learners. But now that we take a step back, we're three months in, we understand our comfort levels, we see what students are doing it's time to start thinking about, well, hey, this is a really good tool that maybe it was easier for me to learn how to use than I thought it would be. And maybe it was easier for my students to use than I thought it would be. So now let's start characterizing those resources in terms of, how could I fit this into my instruction, whether it's virtual-- which, we have no idea how long we're going to have to continue to be connecting with students only in a virtual environment-- or even when we get back to in-person. All of these tools are excellent tools that can drive your instruction regardless of your setting.
And the framework that we're going to use for that today is actually looking at how these tools fit within evidence-based reading instruction, which we will talk about momentarily in terms of what EBRI is. So first we'll do an overview of evidence-based reading instruction. And then we'll be diving into different resources based on the four components of evidence-based reading instruction, which includes vocabulary, alphabetics, comprehension, and fluency, so that we can just, again, characterize, this is a great resource for students building their fluency skills. Or, these are great resources for helping build vocabulary, or tools that we can use to embed the vocabulary from the reading so that students are getting interactive, engaging, mobile-friendly practice with vocabulary related to the readings that I'm assigning. And so as part of that, we'll be really looking to see, how can we design online reading experiences for our learners where we are providing opportunities for students to be both engaging with authentic reading and quality reading, but also, we are affording them the opportunity to practice all of these elements of evidence-based reading instruction. And then, hopefully, we'll have some time for follow ups.
Because, again, we're all teaching with new tools and new technologies, I always like to kick off just by saying, these are the tools that we're going to be using today. So obviously, most folks are using Zoom. A lot of you are using some sort of video conferencing software that allows you to be able to present in real time with your learners. Zoom is the tool that we're using today.
I'm going to be using Padlet as a collaborative tool for you to be able to share information about what you're currently doing as well as your ideas about, maybe, what you want to be doing based on some of the things that we talk about today. And I think Padlet is a great collaborative tool that's easy to use. And so I use that quite frequently, as well, because it gives people a consistent place to put their input and their feedback.
I'm not necessarily going to be using Google Classroom, but I am going to show, in many cases, a lot of these resources seamlessly integrate into Google Classroom in terms of being able to take something and assign it. So I'll make sure to mention that, because Google Classroom has become the-- I would say, the most popular home base, if you will, and/or learning management system that instructors are using to pull everything together for their students as they're teaching from a distance. And then, as I've already mentioned, we're using Wakelet, which I'll show in a second. And that is a tool just to help me organize all these resources for you and to give you a takeaway that you can use forever, because it's available to you.
So what Wakelet is is a-- it's a content curation tool for learners and for instructors. And it allows you to pull together different resources from different places. You can put images in there. You can put URLs in there. You can put YouTube videos in there-- all in one place. And then you can share that with students.
It's very flexible in terms of how you might want to use it. Initially, this tool was actually not developed as an education tool at all. It really was more of a curation tool for folks to-- say you were planning a trip with friends. You could have everyone be a collaborator on the Wakelet, and they can add links to the things that they want to do. And then you could even organize that into days. I have a Wakelet of winter recipes that, if I find something, I just plop it in there because it's easy to do. And then I have this thing that I can always go to. So it's really flexible in terms of how you use it.
And the way that I'm going to be using it with you today-- and again, the link is in there-- is basically providing you with everything that-- everything that you see here. So this Wakelet-- and I will share again. So this is a tool that actually allows me to-- I could assign a Wakelet in Google Classroom, if I wanted to, very seamlessly. So you've seen lots of tools, now, that allow you to assign directly from that resource into Google Classroom. I can tweet them. I can send them out by Remind. I can send them out by Facebook. I can share a QR code. So if you have a smartphone with you right now and you don't want to be hopping out of the Zoom you could literally hover your smartphone over this right now and scan it. And then it's going to bring you to that Wakelet.
And so Wakelet is really flexible in terms of how you share it with students. But it also provides me a way to pull all of the learning resources from today-- so I've actually done this webinar before, and there's already a recording out there of it. We're going to do some little tweaks today. But I've got a recording of this webinar from a previous time I've done it as well as a link to the slide deck, as well as a link to some resources that we offer. And then, also, we've got all the tools that we're talking about today. So we're going to be talking about fluency. We're going to be talking about vocabulary. We're going to be talking about comprehension. And all of those are in here. We've got the tools that I'm going to be talking about in this one place. So it's a comprehensive list of free resources all organized by the components of evidence-based reading instruction.
Within the Wakelet there's two links in there. There's the presentation slides. And there's a collaborative Padlet. And I'll be sharing out that Padlet link every time I'm asking you to do it. So here is the Padlet link. And again, there's a QR code for you to scan. So it's bit.ly/ebripad.
Again, when we're teaching in a virtual environment, obviously you all have probably experienced many times over that it's best to just use a few tools consistently. These are the tools that I use consistently. I don't have the benefit of being able to have a whole half-hour session of teaching you how to use it. But these are two tools that I recommend heavily because they afford us the ability to pull things together in one place. And with Padlet it affords you the ability, again, to collaborate.
So as you can see in Padlet, which is a tool many of you may already be using, when I go to share it there's a number of ways to do that. I can copy the link to my clipboard. And so I'll paste that here. And then that's a link that you can use. I can share it in Google Classroom. So once again, as a lead into to an assignment-- so if I had all your emails and you were my students this would be something that I would send out before this webinar. And I would assign it as an assignment that's due so that you've all done your contributions beforehand. And then when we get to class everyone's information is already on here.
But again, I can assign it by Google Classroom. And I can also assign it using a QR code. So again, if you have your phone handy, you could scan this QR code right now. And that is going to allow you to access the Padlet on your phone. And what this Padlet is for today's session is for you to just share out anything that you're already doing in reading around the four components of evidence-based reading instruction.
So I'm going to hop out of this share. So there's four components, which we're going to learn about in a second, of evidence-based reading instruction. And so for, say, vocabulary I could, say quizlet. And I'm just going to say-- whoops-- I create quzlets of my-- of the vocabulary-- stories, students, reading. And that's it. So now I've added that into this Padlet.
And again, as I said earlier, I'm using Google Classroom specifically because it's a nice home base and it allows-- or, I'm talking about Google Classroom, excuse me, because it's a home base. It allows you to communicate everything in one place. Lots of the resources, almost all of them, actually, that we're talking about today, you're going to see this little icon. And so what that means is you literally can just click on it and then assign it to your students. It's so seamless. And that is one of the reasons why Google Classroom has become really popular.
I also think it's a great tool because it integrates with Google Suite of products, which help you help your learners develop their digital skills. So even something as simple as a writing assignment or a summary of a story-- you can just have students create a Google Doc. And they'll be sharing that with you. And they're learning how to create a Google Doc. They're learning how to share that Google Doc with you.
Say it's something on sequence. You're teaching the skill sequence. The assignment can be, use-- create a Google Doc, and you're going to create a numbered list of the sequence. And so now they're learning text formatting skills. And so I like the simplicity of Google Classroom, but it really has the ability for you to do not just using technology but developing digital literacy skills because of that integration of their products. And as I said earlier, so many of the tools we're going to be talking about today seamlessly integrate into Google Classroom, which makes it easier to assign things.
As we start talking about all of these resources-- I said this earlier-- we've been just-- everyone's just been information gathering, and learning new tools, and maybe testing out these tools with learners and finding out where you're having successes. I want you to think about the tools that you're currently using. And I want you to think about the tools that you're going to learn about today and think about where they fall into an instructional sequence that can work regardless of if we're working remote or if we're working in person.
And so the graphic I'm showing you up here to-- right now is-- it's called a station rotation model. And it's one of the models of blended learning that is pretty popular. And that's because it allows teachers to build lessons around the idea that the entire lesson should not be me, the teacher, talking, you, the student, listening, and nothing else happening. So thinking about when you're designing lessons, my facilitation time-- that's really precious right now. You only get a few hours of that. So how can I maximize that? What resources and what things should I be doing with that time to really maximize the limited time that I have? So maybe it's not reading a story together unless you want students to be practicing read aloud, which obviously makes sense. But maybe the story can be sent to students ahead of time, or the reading assignment. And maybe there's questions in a Padlet, like we're working with right now, so that when we get to teacher-facilitated time there's a wealth of things that students have already thought about and contributed. And then that becomes a launchpad for the teacher-facilitated discussion around the story or the reading that you assigned.
But then, what are ways students can be working on their own? If you know, say, their Lexile level and you have access to leveled libraries that give them choice in terms of what they're reading, and that reading content is organized by Lexile, then there are resources that definitely fit more in the individual time, where students can be working on their own on reading that's at level. And so it's really about thinking about, how can we characterize these resources so that we're making just more options available for our learners?
So we're going to just really plow through the four elements of evidence-based reading instruction, which is EBRI. So I'll probably call it EBRI. But when I'm saying that, that means evidence-based reading instruction. And you might also hear me say open education resources, or OER.
And as I said earlier, CrowdED Learning is focused on free and open education resources. So all of the things that we're talking about today are free. And some of them are open. And I have a whole session on what OER means, because it is different than free. But just know, when I say them, they're sort of interchangeable.
But if something is open you actually have the ability to manipulate it and add in your own content and send it out and distribute it. You can put it on a website that anyone could use. But we're not going to get too into the weeds on that. But just know, when I'm talking about OER, it is open education resources. And again, all of the things that I talk about today are free.
So one of the things that's in your Wakelet, if-- we're not doing a deep dive into each of these components. But if you're unfamiliar with evidence-based reading instruction, on that Wakelet there's an entire professional development resource that is self-guided for you to be able to work through all of these topics. And they do dive even deeper than we will today into the notion of comprehension, what you should be doing, strategies for comprehension, strategies for fluency, strategies for vocabulary and grammar along with the resources that we're talking about. So I encourage you to check it out. It was actually done last fall as a LINCS event where we did two week topics where, for each of those topics I just showed, we explored effective resources. And then teachers talked about strategies that they would use for develop-- using those resources to develop those skills.
And the way this PD works is there's just a two-pager on reviewing the components of evidence-based reading instruction. There's videos that go with each of those. And then there's prompts that provide overviews of these resources, including some things that teachers have developed that give feedback on these various resources. So you can actually see how educators, adult educators, are using them. And you can see adult educator feedboo-- feedback, excuse me, on the tool, how they use it. Is it accessible? Is it engaging? Is it culturally appropriate? All of those things. For some of these resources we had teachers actually collaborate and provide that information. So you're getting real information from adult educators on the usability of these resources.
And then we also included opportunities for discussion questions. Now, obviously, if you're doing this by yourself that's not going to be helpful. However, within the guide-- so it's just one big document-- there's links to the LINCS-- hyperlinks to the LINCS discussion boards that we did. So you can see the conversation that teachers had around these discussions. You can contribute your own. And the nice thing about LINCS is, if you do add your own idea or your question within those discussion threads, everyone who's on the reading and writing community within LINCS is going to see that in their updates.
And so it's not just going into the atmosphere and no one's going to respond. People are going to see that you asked that question or you have that comment. And you'll likely get responses from other educators. So it's an ongoing community of practice, if you will, that you could leverage using this free, openly licensed professional development tool. But within that course and within this webinar today these are all of the resources that we went through. And so we are about to do that today around these different elements of evidence-based reading instruction.
So evidence-based reading instruction is a research-based model for reading. And if you are a WIOA-funded organization, which I'm guessing many of you are, one of the-- actually, there's two components within the 13 components that you must meet for being an eligible training provider through WIOA that focus on research-based literacy instruction. And so EBRI is the model that is promoted by OCTAE, which is the Office of Career, Adult, and Technical Education, through the STAR reading model. And so if you're familiar with the STAR reading model you're probably familiar-- you definitely are familiar with all of these components.
But why it is evidence based is-- it's basing it on research that states that direct and explicit instruction is the best way to teach reading. And the way that that direct and explicit instruction happens is through explanation of what's happening, through modeling of what good reading looks like-- so not just reading and answering questions, but when you read a passage together, modeling, I'm going to stop here. What did I just read? Why did the author say that in this way-- the sorts of questions that you and I, as proficient readers, do when we're engaging with text. Those are things that need to be modeled for students in order for them to become better readers. That it involves guided practice in terms of reading. And then lots and lots of application of reading.
And so when we look at the tools that you're probably using specifically, or if you're using publisher resources, there's some great reading programs out there for publishers. A lot of them have really good guided practice. And I'll actually say this out loud-- the first time I did this presentation was partnered with a publisher, because I recognized that there's actually not a lot of good free content that just walks through the concept of main idea and details, or walks through the concept of compare and contrast. Publisher resources do a really good job of that. They have nice, explicit lessons that provide guided practice in those areas.
But where they fall short is providing a lot of opportunity for application. So you have a book that's this thick. If you wanted five or six readings for each lesson the book would be about that thick. And so having these other tools that are free that allow us to provide more reading options for learners is one of the ways in which we can marry the tools that we're using-- maybe publisher resources, maybe not-- with some of these other free and open education resources that are going to provide more opportunity for practice and application.
And I just want to dissect these four components, because they are interrelated. So sometimes we think of them as these separate components, but they really do, in terms of thinking about what reading actually is-- they are highly interconnected. And so when we look at alphabetics and fluency, these are recognition-based skills. You are-- it's print based. And you are recognizing what it is you are reading.
And if we split it up a little more, on the left-hand side we're looking at recognizing words. So alphabetics is understanding word by word what you're reading, being able to decode each word and take the print and actually be able to read it and be able to say the word that is being represented in print. Whereas fluency is text-based recognition, meaning it's not individual words. It's a sequence of words and being able to recognize those words. So we get into concepts like chunking, where it's not just reading each word, but it's reading sets of words within a text and knowing when to make pauses, knowing how to do things like intonation and prosody and pronunciation as you are reading, and not as a word-by-word sequence.
And then when we get to the bottom half it's the same split, individual words versus full text. But now we're looking at meaning-based understandings. So vocabulary is actually understanding the words that I'm reading and knowing what the definition is and how it is used. And then comprehension is looking at understanding. And it's really where we're trying to go with any reading instruction-- having learners actually make sense of full text. And so that's-- these are the four components. But this is how they interconnect.
And just walking through them one by one, alphabetics we also consider phonics. And within our standards it tends to be the earlier levels because this is looking at decoding and phonemic awareness and being able to analyze a word and being able to actually recognize words. And so I will say, of all of the components, this is the one for which we are the most limited in terms of resources that are available to us, unfortunately.
When we're talking about fluency-- fluency, again, is being able to decode and read series of words and texts. So it's looking at things like accurate and automatic decoding, like not having to pause as you are reading to be able to decode that word, but being able to continuously read through. It's looking at actually reading out loud, and what is the prosody and the intonation that you're using? And it's looking at chunking text. So when a learner is not just reading-- even if they're reading fluently in terms of being able to string those words together and not pause, if they are actually using proper inflection and proper chunking, that is reflective of their comprehension of the word, because the intonation that they're using is a reflection of the actual comprehension of the various words and what they mean.
When we get back down to the bottom how-- half, now, excuse me, into the meaning-based components, vocabulary-- you all know what that is. It's understanding the meanings of words. Within our standards, within adult ed, there's a big focus, obviously, especially as we move into a heavier focus on informational text, to be able to understand tier 2 words, or academic vocabulary.
So the resources that we'll look at today focus specifically on those tier 2 academic words that might not be so immediately evident in terms of the meaning. Like dog, window, wall, lamp-- we can point to those things. But they have a not-so-inherent meaning that has to be explained to learners. And again, that explicit instruction is needed for things like academic vocabulary, because you can't put a picture of summarize. That's a hard one to make a connection through an image. It has to be explained. And so that's why the focus is on tier 2 words.
And then comprehension-- again, it's where we're looking to go with any reading instruction. And this is not only being able to read and answer questions but being able to connect to the text personally and make personal meaning out of it, to self-monitor as you are reading and make sense as you're going, to understand the structure of the text and why it's presented in that way. And ultimately, most importantly, being able to summarize and make sense of what it is you have read and why it's important and why it's important to you, why it's important for others to read.
So now we're going to get to the fun stuff. And we are going to dive into free and open resources that align to each of these components. I'm not going to go back into slide mode because I'm going to be hopping out into these resources. But within the college and career readiness standards-- and I know California has their own standards, as well. But within the CCRS, levels A and B of the reading standards are the only ones that address alphabetics. So once you get beyond level B, which is aligned to second, third-grade level it moves on. And so the reading standards within the CCRS do not actually include alphabetics.
So IXL is a tool that isn't free, but I-- entirely. You can do one lesson a day, is from what I can tell. But when I ask the question of, what are you using? I do hear a lot of teachers who use IXL. And it's not just an alphabetics or phonics tool.
It's actually got multiple subject areas, as you can see here. They have math lessons. They have science, social studies, Spanish. They have Common Core alignments, which we're actually looking at right now. So there's tons of learning content in here. And I think you have to be a member. I don't think it's that expensive. However, what you can do is at least you can do one per day lesson within here.
One of the things I like about just the way it's organized-- now if you scan down we're going to see there is a ton of different lessons on different concepts. And so that's nice. But what's also nice is, when I hover over any of them it provides me with a nice little preview of what the lesson is going to look at. So this one is short I or long I in matching and pictures. So let's go to that just so you can see what these lessons look like.
And so-- and it is more practice. So it's really more designed to see if students can or cannot do whichever skill is being shown. But it's got full audio.
Speaker 1: Which word matches the picture? Fill.
Jess Goumas: And it does have that guide, because I might not even know what this is-- I might not know the English word. But I've heard it now. And so I can select the answer and submit.
So each one of these has 10 questions. And I work through them. So--
Speaker 1: Sit.
Jess Goumas: It's a pretty simple format. But these-- again, this one per day is free. And this is mobile friendly. So if you were to assign this link to students, they could do this one activity that day. And they could actually operate it on their mobile device, which is also another thing that I'm heavily focused on with the resources that I share because of the fact that we know that more learners can only access online content through-- or their primary mode of access of online content is through mobile device.
Learning Chocolate is another tool that's actually a vocabulary learning tool. And we'll look at that in a second. But I know that this is very widely used throughout a number of community-based organizations here in the Chicagoland area, particularly with ESL students. So it is a language-learning platform. And as you can see here, there's a bunch of different topics. And for each of these topics there's a bunch of different vocabulary sets.
What I've done is focused specifically on those sets that deal with alphabetic and phonics. And so I can go to any one of these-- we'll go to this one-- and open it up. Now, one of the things that you may notice is that there's lots of pop-up ads, which can be really annoying on here, and distracting for students.
But what I've seen-- and I like that they have this. But I've seen students do this the second they get into Learning Chocolate-- they click on this little icon right here. And it's going to expand it so that we're in full-screen mode. So now we're in full-screen mode. All those ads are out of the way, which is great. And now I have the content.
So one of the things I really like about Learning Chocolate is it has a consistent sequence of activities for every single vocabulary set. And we'll walk through those right now. So the first one, just the opening screen, is just literally all of the words that are part of the set and then icons that you can click.
Speaker 1: Pull. Full. Pawn. Fawn. Pin. Fin.
Jess Goumas: And then even on these vocab-- or, excuse me, these phonics ones they have the sound.
Speaker 1: Fff. Puh.
Jess Goumas: Then I work through these activities. And so the first match-up is no pictures but just hearing and-- so listening and reading. So I'm going to hear--
Speaker 1: Fawn.
Jess Goumas: And then I need to read to find where I match it.
Speaker 1: Pawn. Pawn.
Jess Goumas: And I work through this.
Speaker 1: Fin.
Jess Goumas: Where is fin? There we go.
Speaker 1: Fin.
Jess Goumas: And then I can check my answers at the end. And it's-- obviously, those are wrong because I didn't do them. But it's going to let me know which ones were correct or incorrect. I can redo these as many times as I want.
The second match-up, then, is not listening, but it's just recognizing the word, the actual image, and pairing it. So this is going to be a little trickier because some of these have some sort of social context that someone might not know. This might not have been the best example. But this is focused on reading the word, and not the actual phonics sound, and connecting it with each of the images. So you might say, don't do match-up 2 for this one, or challenge yourself with it. Now, this one's getting back to the sound.
Speaker 1: Paint. Paint. Pull. Pull. Peel. Peel.
Jess Goumas: And so it's, again, listening and then matching it to the image. So we don't-- there's no reading involved in that. This is the one I just did, sorry.
And then we have a fill-in activity. So this one, they really need to know the words, because obviously they're just-- there's no word bank. And so I will caution you on that, that it doesn't have a word bank, but hopefully you're having them really engaged with the words for quite some time. Again, we can check the answers.
And then the final one is a dictation. And so this is--
Speaker 1: Pull.
Jess Goumas: --hearing the word and then typing it--
Speaker 1: Pig.
Jess Goumas: --in the box. And again, all of these have this check answer capability. And so students can work through these. And again, it's the same sequence-- those activity formats are the same every single time for every single one of these word sets.
And just again, this is actually a language learning platform. So the thing that I've linked in the Wakelet and in the presentation here is to the ones that are specifically on phonics and alphabet, which is obviously what we're talking about. But there's lots of great topics in here that students can use to learn different words. And so again, for each of these categories there's a number of different word sets that students would work through. And again, it's the same sequence of activities each time through those word sets.
So alphabetics is, as I said, very limited in terms of the number of resources that we have and are using. But these are two that I know that are widely used by adult educators. So hopefully you find one or both of them helpful.
Now we're going to move into fluency. And so fluency is, again, looking at students being able to read a sequence of words. So it's print-based recognition of entire texts. And so I want you to think, as you're learning about these resources, how could these resources be used to develop fluency?
So let me actually hop into here real quick. One of the things that's really important about fluency is knowing the level of your students in terms of what is an appropriate level of text complexity. So this is actually part of the standards. Reading Anchor Standard 10 defines for us, from the college and career readiness standards, what grade level band students are at. And within that-- and this would be CCRS level B, level C, level D, and level E, which is adult secondary-- these are the appropriate levels. And the one that we tend to use and a lot of reading programs have done alignments to-- sorry-- is to this Lexile framework here.
Now, if you don't know your students' Lexile levels because right now you're not having necessarily the ability to pre-test them or place them, one of the tools that I'm going to show you later actually has a diagnostic test at the start of it where students do read a sequence of readings. And then they are placed at a Lexile level that's appropriate for them. So be on the lookout for that, because I know that's been something that's come up, is because of our limited ability to onboard students, just understanding their level can be challenging. And so one of the comprehension tools that I share with you I want you to pay attention, because it can be used to diagnose and identify what Lexile level is appropriate. And the reason I bring this up here is, students are not going to read fluently or be able to really develop their fluency skills if we're putting them in texts that are beyond the complexity of what's appropriate for them at their particular level.
So the resource that I'm going to share with you today on fluency-- and it's one of my favorite resources-- is called Reading Skills for Today's Adults. And it was developed by an adult ed center in Southwest Minnesota years back. And it's got 16 different levels of reading that increase in level of text complexity based on Lexile and ATOS scores, which is another measure of readability. And it is designed specifically for adult learners.
So the topics of readings are things like money, and work, and parenting, and safety, and nutrition, and health. So they're adult-specific topics. But it is designed for early, early levels, so levels like CCRS levels A, B, C. And there's some D.
There's no level E in there because, again, the focus of it is for these earlier levels, which-- I come from a publishing background. I used to be head of product development for Mcgraw-Hill Education and adult education. And one of things we always would get was, we need more low-level readings that are appropriate for adults. I'm showing you something that has 300-- exactly 348 stories that are designed for those early-level readers.
One thing that might also be of interest to you is their-- Southwest Minnesota ABE also developed a reading skills for health care worries-- workers, excuse me-- program that is also for its more middle level. However, all of the readings within this curriculum are readings that are within health care contexts. So it's a reading program designed for students who are interested in health care careers. And it provides stories in a similar format to what we're going to look at right now that are all within the context of health care and health settings, which is nice.
Now, some of you may be familiar with Reading Skills for Today's Adults, because this is another one that, in the gathering of "what do you use" that I constantly do with adult educators, a lot of teachers have mentioned using Reading Skills for Today's Adults. It's been around for a while. And there's an old site-- some of us-- some people actually also refer to it as Marshall Adult Education because that's the adult ed center that developed it. And they have a site that's an older site, but has lots of great resources.
But if you Google Reading Skills for Today's Adults, this is the link you're going to get. I don't know why they still have it up. I keep nudging them to take it down, because it is confusing, because if people Google Reading Skills for Today's Adults, this is the link they get. The URL for the updated site, which has really good supplements that we're going to look at it in a second, is ReadingSkills4Today.com. And we're going to go to that now.
So this is the setup. There's 16 levels. And I'm going to go to one of the earlier levels-- or the earliest level, actually-- level 1. And again, if you remember, I said-- work, safety, calling in sick, workplace, health, obese life, health, being stressed out, parenting. So all of these are, again, adult contexts.
So if I go to, say, "Joe's Workday" here, here is the story. And the reason that I bucketed this under fluency is this truly is designed to help students build their fluency skills. That was the original intent. So for every single one of these stories what you'll see is a line word count. And so at this point, at the start of the line, there's zero words. If you to this point you've read 13 words. If you finish this line you've read 24, 25, 26, so on and so forth.
So they have this timer. And this timer allows you to click. And once you click it's going to start kicking in. And students could read. So if the student wanted to practice their speed and get a sense of how many words per minute they can read, here is the timer. Here is the text. When they get to a certain point they can just count the word count. And that's going to give them a rough estimate of their words per minute.
Now, fluency is not just about the speed. That's actually just one part of it. But it obviously is important, particularly in test taking situations where students do have to read at some level of speed in order to make their way through all of the content of the test. But it really is more about the pronunciation and the intonation and the prosody.
So for every single one of these readings there are three recordings. And each one of these recordings is at-- as you'll see, this one's longer than this one, which is longer than this one. And that's because there's modeling that's happening in the audio. So I'm going to click on this first reading.
Speaker 2: Level 1. Joe's children go to school. Joe goes to work. He leaves for work.
Jess Goumas: So if you can hear that, probably just a little bit, that is reading almost at a decoding level. So she was reading word by word. So it's really helping the students in decoding each of the individual words within the passage. When we get to the second reading what's added in is the phrasal chunking that a fluent reader has. So--
Speaker 2: --goes to work. He leaves for work at 7:30 AM. He gets to work at 7:50 AM.
Jess Goumas: So you'll see, there's those appropriate pauses at the various points that one should pause based on what they are reading. So it's modeling that. Again, remember, evidence-based reading instruction, explicit modeling is really important. And then the third reading, which I won't get into, but you'll see it's about 20 seconds faster-- and that's because the narrator is now reading it with full intonation, full prosody, and all of the elements that a fluent reader would use as they are reading.
So every single one of the reading-- readings, excuse me, has those three recordings. And you'll see there's a number of resources that go along with it. I'm going to download this. I should have done it before I started showing the site.
But you'll see there's PDFs that have pre-questions and post-questions. And those existed on the original site. And then there's also the story PDF. So all of these are downloadable, which is nice. So you can download the story if you're not working in an environment where students have access. But then that supplement that I just clicked and downloaded-- I'm going to open it up for you because this is, to me, an amazing addition to this program. And it makes it more than just a fluency program.
So what you'll see here is they have the vocabulary from the lesson. And then there's an activity that goes with it. So here is a closed paragraph that is having students put the vocabulary within it. Here's a fill in the blank activity now that is using those same words, but in different sentences. So these aren't sentences from the passage. But now they're related in terms of the content, and students are plugging in the words in a fill in the blank activity.
Then there's a language activity. So it's looking at the simple present verb tense. And it's using words that are from the passage. And again, the sentences within here are contextualized to the passage. And we're focusing on a specific language skill now.
Then they have students write one or two sentences using verbs from the word box here. So they're practicing writing sentences that use the simple-- makes sure I say this correctly-- the-- what were we doing? Yeah, simple present verb tense.
And then they're speaking activities that use words and just use the context of the story with sentence stems to help learners start their response to each of these questions. So it's comprehension where students are speaking the answers, and it's providing stems for them in terms of what they're going to say. Then there's a comprehension assessment that's multiple choice for the reading. Then there's two options for writing activities that include sentence frames to help students structure their writing related to what they're going to write in response to the passage.
So it's chock full of activities that literally is covering almost all of your bases. We don't get into alphabetics in here, but we're getting vocabulary, we're getting fluency, and we're getting comprehension just with this one resource. And students have choice.
Now, one of the things that I'm trying to work with them is to convert these supplements to Google Docs so that you can seamlessly assign it in Google Classroom. And that way that they would have not only this supplement where you're downloading it, but teachers could actually have it in their Google Classroom. And my recommendation to them has been to also add the link to the story so literally you can assign this and then students could actually answer the questions with the Docs.
But you could do that, as well. It's an openly-licensed resource, which you can see here we asked them to do so that you can take these stories and adjust them as you see fit for your students. And you could adjust the supplement. If you didn't want to do all of those activities, you'd have the ability to do so.
So really, really, really love Reading Skills for Today's Adults. And I'm actually going to share with you something that we're doing a CrowdED Learning as part of a new professional development offering that we have that's free that helps teachers learn how to use new tech tools. And we're going to use those stories as the basis for developing learning resources using those tech tools from Reading Skills for Today's Adults.
But I didn't want to stop just with the resource that has the content. There's tools that we can be using that allow students to practice fluency even if we're not with them. So everyone who has a smartphone-- the base apps, if you're using an Apple phone, there's a Voice Notes recorder. And Android devices have an Audio Recorder. So you can teach learners how to use those recording tools and then have them practice recording themselves reading.
And maybe it's just for themselves, so that they can be reading, recording, and then playing back what they've read to hear themselves read. But both of these tools also have the ability for students to share that either by a text, or by email, or-- well, those are the two main ways. So they could be submitting their audio recordings to you so that you could hear them. You could also obviously have them read aloud in a Zoom. And again, when we're face to face you can just have them read aloud in front of you. But even absent of those, for students, if they want to hear themselves read and compare it, say, to the audio from the recordings that we just listened to, they often, if they have a smartphone, they have tools at their disposal that allow them to record and then hear themselves.
And then there's also tools like Google Translate and Otter, which is a-- these are speech-to-text tools that allow students to read something and-- into a device, and it's going to translate their words into text. And the reason that those are important is because of the fact that these tools, if they are pronouncing the words correctly, if they're speaking with proper intonation, it's going to do a better job of translating it. And so we're using Google Slides right now. And Google Slides-- and actually, I've got to move my little bar here. One thing you might not know is Google Slides has closed captioning.
So as I'm talking right now you're going to see on your screen, the words that I'm saying are appearing as closed captions. So this is a technology that's available in Google Slides. It's available in Google Docs. And again, for a student to be practicing their fluency, if they start the closed captioning on a Google Slide or closed-- or, excuse me, voice typing on a Google Doc, which I'll show you in a second, they can be speaking and reading what they're seeing.
The text will come up as you're seeing it here. And they're going to be able to see if they are actually speaking with the proper pronunciation and enunciation that allows Google's tools to actually use the correct word. So it's a cool tech tool that allows them to practice speaking and seeing if it's picking up the words correctly.
One of the tools that's in your Wakelet is a doc that I created that could be a template for doing something like that. And so this is a Google Doc that provides instructions for you to-- that show how to activate or use the text typing feature within Google Docs. And you'll see that I actually put in something in here from the story we just read, "Joe's Workday."
So you could take any text that you wanted and just keep this top half and change-- say it's from-- I pulled from the full story, so I have it here. But I took three snippets from the story, which I'm allowed to do because it's openly licensed, which is one of the reasons I mentioned open education resources. And I've taken two sets of-- three sets, excuse me, of two sentences, and put them in here.
So I'm going to teach them a new tech skill, too. So this gives instructions. If you go to Tools and you go to Voice Typing, you're going to see this little icon pop up. And then you're going to click to speak when you're ready. So what you would teach students to do is click in here and then click this.
He makes breakfast for his children. He cooks eggs for them. I'm going to stop it. Now, you'll see, it did correct, but it didn't quite pick up at the start, but then it did.
And now, it does not-- one thing it does not do is actually punctuate it. So this could be a text lesson where you're having them read things out loud. And they're learning a new tool, text typing, which is actually something I think more and more people do use, especially when they're texting on their phone. But then you could have this be an activity where they're proofreading and editing it and making sure that they're adding in the period that's supposed to go here and adding in-- so that it actually matches the sentence above. So it's just leveraging a tool that you may already be using in a different way. So I just wanted to point that out.
So now we're going to look at vocabulary. And again, I think we all know what vocabulary is in the sense that it's understanding word meanings. But within the standards what we're really focused on is tier 2 vocabulary, which is academic vocabulary.
So as I said earlier, these are words-- here's a word m-- or word cloud, excuse me, of a bunch of different tier 2 words. So they're not immediately apparent. You can't point to something and say what it is. They might be feelings or expressions, or they might be academic words that we use, like summarize or compare, that need some explanation. And so that's why they do requiring some modeling by teachers.
And the reason they're called academic vocabulary is they are frequently present in informational texts. And as we know, the standards lean very heavily towards students being solid readers within informational texts. And so having these types of words and an understanding of these types of words is really important for students to be able to understand and comprehend the text.
So these tier 2 words are the basis of both of the curricula that I'm actually going to show you. So the first one that I'm going to show you that is a full tier 2 vocabulary curriculum is from Appalachian State University-- yeah, State University. Sorry. There's 38 lessons. There's 190 total words. And so within each lesson there's five tier 2 words per lesson.
And this is in the Wakelet, which you'll see. So if you're hopping in and out, you can go ahead and take a look at it as I'm talking about it. But each of these lessons follows a sequence. So at first it is just a knowledge rating scale-- so whether I've never heard this word before all the way to I know the meaning of the word, and then in between. So just having them identify their level of familiarity with each of these words.
Then there's an activity that works on words and context. That's not shown here. Then there's a fill in the blank activity. And then there's a sentence completion. I like showing these last two in particular because you'll see that it's not just being able to easily select the word from a word bank to complete it, but it actually requires understanding of the word.
So the sentence completion activities-- again, they have the words available to them. And they're in the sentence already. So in order to answer or complete each of these sentences they have to really have an understanding of what the underlying word means. So I think the most notable musician I know is-- if they say Stephen Curry then-- I'm trying to tailor it to California. That's an athlete. So maybe they don't know what notable means. And so it's-- they have to have an understanding of the word in order to answer these.
And then what I really like are these yes/no/why questions that often-- they all, excuse me, include multiple words, where they have to answer free response. And it's using two of the words where they have to answer and explain yes, no, or why within it. So again, these aren't just deductive reasoning, pick the word that hasn't been used. But they actually require the student to have an understanding of the meaning of the word.
We, CrowdED Learning, a while back developed Quizlet decks for each of the 38 lessons within this curriculum. So for every single one of these there is a Quizlet that offers all of these different activity types within it. So it's the study set of each of the five words. We also have one that has all of the lessons. But students can go through a series of different activities and engage with the words on a mobile-friendly tool such as Quizlet. So it is accessible to all learners.
But what we recently asked them to do because of the fact that we've been seeing everybody go very heavily into Google Classroom is we worked with them to convert every single one of these lessons to Google Docs. And so the link that you see here and the link that's in the Wakelet is actually to a Drive folder that has all 38 of these lessons as Google Docs. The original were only word documents-- which you can convert, but that's just a couple added steps that I know a lot of teachers don't necessarily want to take or sometimes don't know how to take. So it's already been done for you. So these, again, can be assigned directly in Google Classroom.
But then the other thing that we did, as you can see at the bottom of the page-- so those Quizlet decks that we had created, it was just out there. And if you knew they existed you knew they existed. But otherwise they were just there. And so we asked them, as we did this conversion, if we could add a QR code and a link to the Quizlet deck.
So now, on the Google Doc, whether or not you're using it digitally or you're printing it out for students and then handing it to them-- if they're using it digitally they can click on this and they'll launch into the Quizlet. If they have a handout that's print-based they have this QR code. And they can scan that and they can get to the Quizlet deck, as well. So it's adding a layer of interactivity to it. Otherwise, it's just a word doc of exercises. So there's just more engagement with the words using additional tools.
A very similar resource is also available from the Adult Learning Resource Center, which is a professional development arm for the adult education system here in Illinois. They have 19 units. So it's almost the same number of words, but it's just a different format where every lesson has 10 words instead of five words. And there's 19 of them.
And so these are the types of activities. They actually have more activities within each lesson, but including some of the things that if you were paying attention a second ago-- yes/no/why. So some similar activities. Different words, but they are all tier 2 words for both of these.
So another tool that I just want to make mention of that I think was interesting-- and I did not know about this until we did that professional development thing last fall that resulted in the professional development resource that's available to you through links-- is this is a web vocab profiler tool. It's ugly. Like, this looks like web design from 2000, where it's a black background and then neon-colored text.
But it's a really cool tool, because what it allows you to do is paste the text from any passage that you want students to be reading into it, and it's going to generate a list of all of the academic vocabulary words from the-- there is an actual official list of academic-- of tier 2 vocabulary. It's called the Academic Word List. And it's divided into 10 sublists.
And so this-- any text that you paste into it is going to extract those words for you so that you can take any text that you want and identify for students what are the tier 2 vocabulary words. So maybe you develop quizlets using these words. One of the nice things about Quizlet is if you create a new quizlet and you were to type in "consist," it's going to find a definition for that word. So you would literally just need to type in the words into Quizlet and then you-- it would automatically suggest definitions for each of those words. And then suddenly, again, you have an interactive and engaging vocabulary practice set for learners that pair with the text that you're using.
This is a PDF that has the academic word list. It has all of the words within tier 2 vocabulary. And I guess I forgot to mention-- tier 1 vocabulary is words that are apparent, so commonly used words that are easy to recognize. And oftentimes they're about physical things like-- or actions, like look, see, work. And then tier 3 words are subject-specific vocabulary. So if you're teaching science, photosynthesis. Or if you're teaching US history, democracy. Those are words that are subject-- although democracy actually might be an academic vocabulary word, too. But they're more subject-specific to whatever subject you're teaching.
So the last thing we're going to look at is comprehension. And so we have a range of tools, three that we're going to look at. And I do all three because I think they're all excellent. So CommonLit, ReadWorks, and Read Theory. All of these have a lot of similar features. So a number of the technology-type things that are in there apply to all three of them. But I'm going to highlight the ones that-- I'm going to highlight each of those things specifically within these different tools. And I will point out the ones that I feel are both best for specific things, but also are most widely used within adult education based on my experience.
So as I mentioned earlier, within the professional development series that we did last fall we created an open document for teachers who are using CommonLit or Read Theory or ReadWorks to provide their input on various things about how they're using it, the nature of the resource itself both in terms of the content and the technical considerations. So in this document, which is linked here in the presentation-- it's also linked in your-- in the Wakelet. And it's open. So if you to use these you are absolutely welcome to contribute to there, because you'd be able to access it.
But we asked teachers to indicate, what are the levels of the text? What type of engagement? Is it relevant content for learners? Does it accommodate culture? Does it have a good representation of different cultures and diversity? How does it work in terms of feedback and reporting for teachers?
And then we also ask them to provide information of the technical considerations of each of these. So what's the level of digital skills that students need in order to operate it? Is it easy to navigate and does it have accessibility features, like can you zoom in on the text and make the text larger-- things like that? And so there's some blank spaces in here. It's just an open document. But at least it gives some input from adult educators who are actively using these tools.
So when we're talking about comprehension and the standards, again, it's important to be putting students into texts that are appropriate based on their Lexile levels. But the standards for reading and the college and career readiness standards are organized into three key domains, or main domains-- key idea and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas. And I bring that up because two of these resources do a really good job of reporting student progress within these, which is helpful when you're trying to understand how learners are doing related to the standards at their particular level.
So key idea and details, as we know, is focused on the gist of what you're reading-- so understanding, what is the main idea of the entire selection? What's the main idea of a paragraph? And what are the details that are being used to support that main idea and reinforce that main idea? And that can be in chunks of just paragraphs. But that can be over the entire course of a text.
And so these are the three Anchor Standards from the college and career readiness standards that deal with key idea and details. And the way that's broken up is, this is Anchor Standard 2, which deals with determining the central theme and summarization. You can see that there's standards at each of the levels. And obviously, it's an increasing level of complexity as you get to higher levels within the standards. And so all of the Anchor Standards are represented in this way, where it has the anchor standard and then the individual standards at each of the different levels that students should be able to demonstrate within that anchor.
So when we're talking about craft and structure we do get into vocabulary-- so understanding and interpreting the words and phrases that are used in the text-- but also understanding the structure of text-- so understanding paragraph structure. And this obviously applies into writing, as well. But things like, are we dealing with things such as sequence? Is that how they've structured this text so that I can follow it? Is it a compare and contrast type of format where it's comparing two things like, for example, two candidates who are running for political office and comparing and contrasting the viewpoints of those two figures? But then also looking at the point of view, and how does that actually-- and the purpose of the author in terms of writing it in terms of how that impacts what you are reading.
So these are skills that, again, when we're modeling we're asking questions about those things. Who wrote this? What's the source? Particularly when we're dealing with more and more information online, where does this come from? And so what do I need to be aware of?
And then that also gets into integration of knowledge and ideas, which is the third set or-- it's a domain. And there's three Anchor Standards, where students are looking at information that's presented in different formats, information that's coming from multiple sources, and really being able to extract ideas, comparisons amongst them or common themes based on what they're reading. So these are, again, far more complex Anchor Standards. But there is room for all of these Anchor Standards. Even at the earlier levels, the standards really define that.
Again, as we're talking about when we're dealing with comprehension, students-- someone mentioned Newsela is a resource they use in the Padlet. And that's a great example of-- students can be reading on the same topic. So we can have a conversation on that topic. But Newsela-- one of the things that people really like about it is you can adjust Lexile level so different students can be reading at different Lexile levels that are appropriate for them. but be also learning the same content at the same time.
So the first resource we'll look at is ReadWorks. ReadWorks has the largest library of these three resources, so over 4,000 leveled texts-- so you have the ability to search for them based on levels-- including 276 text pairs, which when we're talking about integration of knowledge and ideas and looking at multiple texts on the same topic, those are obviously really helpful for hitting on those Anchor Standards.
All of these stories are downloadable and printable. The same thing goes for CommonLit. All of those stories are downloadable and printable. All of these stories can be filtered by reading skills and strategies.
And they actually, within here, do have over 300 texts that do allow for you to adjust the Lexile level. So I picked a story within ReadWorks that has all of those features just so you can see where you would find it. So they're called StepReads. So if you're doing a search for readings in ReadWorks, if you search for only those readings that have StepReads then you will see only those stories that have the ability for you to offer that reading to students in different Lexile levels.
You'll also see that this deals with different CCRS alignments. Now, aligning to their Anchor Standard 10 doesn't really mean anything, because that's Lexile level. That's at the appropriate level. But if we look at Lexile here, Reading Anchor 1 and 2-- those both fall under key idea and details.
So what this is getting at is, the comprehension questions that students are going to answer related to the story are going to be heavier-- more heavily slanted towards the domain of key idea and details, and specifically these two Anchor Standards. So that's an important thing to pay attention to, because it will allow you to pair some of these leveled libraries to the skills that you are trying to focus on, because the comprehension questions that students will be answering will be more heavily aligned to those standards.
And then, in this case, it provides texts that you could pair with this. So obviously, we're talking about political parties. And so there's three different readings that obviously relate, because they're focused on politics and US government. So that's ReadWorks.
I will say one thing-- you'll see that there is an audio here. It's only one audio recording. It's not like Reading Skills for Today's Adults, where it's modeling three different speeds. But one thing to note about the audio recordings in ReadWorks, if you decide maybe ReadWorks is something you want to use-- they are in the process of doing actual human, authentic readings of the stories. I think the initial platform only had automated reading. So it was a computer-generated audio recording. And I would say they were really bad. So if that's a goal for you to be providing that, I would say check the story first, because some of them they have converted to being an actual human reading it and some of them are still the old, automated narration. And so that's just a point that I like to make.
CommonLit is very similar in terms of structure to ReadWorks. I think it is more widely used by adult educators based on the feedback that I've gotten. So they have about 1,500 leveled texts. Again, they're all downloadable and printable. One of the features that I really like that's unique to CommonLit is Guided Reading Mode. And all-- or, most of their stories are also available in Spanish.
So in terms of how you can filter these stories, I like it because you can filter by genre, by literary device, by text sets. So these get into the content areas. Very heavily into social studies and history. But also, there's a few in here that deal with science topics. And so you can immediately filter by things that you want text sets or that are topical. And again, coming from my publishing background, one of the things that we heard a lot was, we want leveled texts that are dealing with the subject areas like social studies and science, because they need to be learning that content, but the reading level has to be appropriate. And so this allows you to filter in that manner.
But then the themes, I think, are really important here, too. And I think this is one of the reasons why adult educators tend to gravitate towards it, is these aren't childish, K-12 themes. These are really heavy-hitting themes like morality, and prejudice, and discrimination, which is obviously-- they're topical concepts right now that allow you to search for things that are going to be interesting and relevant to adults.
So one of the things that is linked in the Wakelet, and it's also here, is-- CrowdED Learning, we've taken CommonLit and we've created an open spreadsheet that allows you to just drill into the domains and the appropriate Lexile levels both for informational text and for literary text. So we basically just-- this is literally just an automated filter that, if I go to key idea and details for CCRS level C, which is TABE level M or grade level equivalency four, five-- this is going to get me all 118 readings that are more predominantly focused on key idea and details that are at the appropriate Lexile level for this CCRS level.
So that's all it is. You have the ability to do that yourself. But what's nice is it's just pre-populating the filter in terms of appropriate level and the focus on whichever CCRS domain you're looking for.
Again, like ReadWorks, these are downloadable and online. What I like about the online reading-- this is a teacher view-- there's guiding questions that students answer as they're reading if they're doing Guided Reading Mode. When we talk about modeling, asking questions as you're reading-- that's the purpose of those guiding reading questions. So they'll stop at the end of the paragraph. There'll be a question that they have to answer. And you actually get reporting on their answers to that. So it's modeling the type of questioning of the text that students should do as they're reading, as they're using Guided Reading Mode.
Good accessibility features in terms of being able to increase font size. But there's also discussion questions that allow you to facilitate a discussion around it. So when you think about strategies, we were talking about that blended learning model or flipping it. Instead of reading a story together during your Zoom time, assign this. You can assign it through Google Classroom.
Have students work through it. And then you might use a Padlet for students to just answer something that's more open-ended about the story that they read. Like, this is an interesting topic-- can cell phones be addictive? So you can have them-- that's just called flip learning. They're answering questions about the reading ahead of time.
You can use those if you do that inside a Padlet. Have students further explain what their thoughts are. But then you can also-- for every story there's discussion questions that are provided for the teacher in order for you to be able to facilitate discussion around the story, which is nice.
Again, they also have paired texts. So that-- "Watch Out-- Can Cell Phones Be Addictive" has a number of other things related to media, our digital world, and the negatives of it. One of the things that I like about CommonLit is they always have-- for all of these things they have videos that give you guidance in terms of how to utilize these paired texts or how to utilize those discussion questions. So it gives video-based professional development for you on how to use the tool.
I also like that they provide guiding-- excuse me, really good reporting. So those guiding questions that students answer as they're reading-- this is what that looks like. It tells you how many attempts they took and whether or not they got it right or wrong. So the yellow means they got it right, but it took them two attempts. The darker yellow means they got it right, but it took them three attempts. And then the ones-- it looks like they only get four attempts before they're locked out.
But then for the comprehension questions, the assessment-- which is part of the download. So if you use the PDF version, the printout is the story and the five comprehension questions-- you get a report like this that again shows whether they got it right or wrong. And it also indicates the Anchor Standard. So again, we see that three of the four questions deal with key idea and detail standards. So this is giving you a snapshot into their level of comprehension on those. And then there's also a written question that students can answer and submit. And then you can actually evaluate it within the tools in CommonLit if you choose to use those.
The last comprehension tool I'm going to show you is Read Theory. And Read Theory is a-- is different than these first two, because whereas CommonLit and ReadWorks you are assigning content to students, Read Theory is completely individualized. And so as I mentioned earlier, if you have learners that are coming in but you don't have the ability to test them and locate them, a lot of adult educators have started using Read Theory as a tool to do that.
All you have to do is create a student account. And then they can go on their own. And they're going to be reading at level based on what's appropriate for them, because Read Theory has them work through a reading, answer questions about that reading. And then they're going to move up or down in grade level and Lexile level based on their performance. And their reporting is aligned to those CCRS domains.
So it's super mobile friendly. It is not an app. So one of the things that I recommend to teachers is, once students start using this, to add this to your home screen so that it shows up as an app on-- like, it looks like an app. But this is really just a bookmark to the website so that students can go at any time to read. And you don't have to do anything once they're set up in your account.
So the pre-test walks them through a set of questions. And they read a few different selections starting at a grade 3 Lexile level. So it's starting at a lower level. And then this is my journey through the pre-test. And what you'll see is, the Lexile level and the grade level goes up, because I was continually answering these questions correctly. And I peaked out, by design, at a sixth grade or 800 Lexile level.
And so once I've done that, that's where it's placing me for my first reading. And so then the first reading that I did-- actually, this is the third reading I did. I did a couple, and then I wanted to see what it looks like when I get incorrect answers. So this is the nature of the passage. It provides, immediately, feedback as they're answering. So they get correct and/or incorrect answer feedback based on their response.
And it's actually very specific to the response, which I think is really nice. So that's a feature that you get. So you'll see-- and this is important-- I got these two questions wrong as I was going through this particular passage. And again, it gives me that feedback right away.
One of the features I like about Read Theory-- and actually, this is available in both CommonLit and ReadWorks-- is it has this Highlight Text feature. So you know those questions that students get asked-- hey, using information in paragraph 3, or the second sentence in paragraph 4-- which is fine as a-- because it's trying to point the students to a specific thing to be looking at as they're answering this question. But there's a possibility they might go to the wrong place, because maybe they forget that, oh, maybe it's just a small paragraph, like here, and they miss it. And they think this is the second par-- or, this is the fourth-- or, third paragraph, not the third- fourth paragraph. So if they click on Highlight Text it's going to highlight specifically what is being referenced to in the question, what the question is asking about. So it saves time.
So when a student completes a quiz they get the score. And you, as a teacher, can get-- students can use this independently. They don't have to have a classroom. But you would put them into a classroom so you can see their reporting. And it does have a gamification notion to it where they get knowledge points based on how they complete the quizzes.
But then, in the reporting-- and students can see this for themselves. And you can see this for all of your students-- you can see the progression of grade level that students are working in. So that was the second story that I took. So I-- the first one I did well. It moved me up in grade level. And then I got those two questions wrong, so it brought me a little bit back down to make sure that I'm in the right place.
And you can see that the same thing goes for the Lexile level of the stories that I read. So I started off at a little bit over 800, did well. I went to a new story, didn't do so well. So then it brought me a little bit down. And it's going to continue doing that based on how I do.
But for this individual student, what I get to see is how they answered on the questions that align to each of the CCRS domains. Now, you're going to see it says Common Core Standards here. But the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Ed are a subset of the Common Core State Standards.
So those two questions that I got wrong are specifically related to the domain of key idea and details. So I'm getting diagnostic information for this individual learner at a domain level. So that's going to help me understand where I need to focus with this learner in terms of the skills and the standards.
So for working with these leveled libraries, I think-- and we're at time. I know I have the ability to go about five minutes over, so I will take advantage of that. But just as we're thinking about these tools, and particularly providing students with open-ended opportunities to read at will, things like using graphic organizers-- if you want to be focusing on main idea and details, you can focus on main idea and details for any passage that a student wants to read. So potentially, you could use graphic organizers.
Now, in the Wakelet-- now, because of time I'm not going to go to it. But I created a Google Slide that looks like this. So you can assign something like the Google Slide and just say, I want you to pick a reading that you want to learn about from any one of these sites or from other sites that you know have appropriate content for students. And I want you to fill this out for that reading. So students are getting practice just thinking about what the main idea is and what the details are of something that they've chosen to read. And they're practicing digital skills using it, if you use something like Google Slides, like I showed you.
Some other resources that I just like to show that are focused on giving learners choice in reading-- ProCon.org is an excellent site that has a number of leveled readings-- I thought this was linked. It's not-- number of, excuse me, readings around controversial topics. So here's one-- should vaccines be required for children? It gets into things like abortion and legalization of marijuana. So adult-focused topics.
And it looks at the pros and the cons of the arguments around that topic. So it gives the history of the issue. It gives the things that people are for or against in relation to it and common arguments, and in text-based formats, in video-based formats.
The first time I learned about this was actually from GED teachers because of the evidence-based writing that students need to do on the GED test, where they're pulling from two different viewpoints on a topic. ProCon is chock full of a bunch of different issues and readings that students can work through related to those issues. So it's a nice tool.
Someone mentioned Newsela in the Padlet. Breaking News English is another similar to Newsela, but it's free. I hate to say it. I've loved Newsela forever in terms of the format. I think it's a brilliant format. But-- and they were free for a while. But now the-- it's free also right now because of COVID. I don't know how long that lasts. But it's very limited now, once we're in a world where it's fully paid, in terms of the number of articles that you have access to for the free version.
But Breaking News English is one that is more geared towards English language learners. And it does provide these authentic readings. Another great ESL resource is We Speak New York City, which provides readings. But these are video-based episodic stories on things that are very relevant to, particularly, immigrants.
And for every single one of these episodes there's a study guide. There's a script, so you can do things like reader's theater with students around the video that they just watched. They have a short story of it. They have images and words that actually storyboard the story. So great reading practice around topics, again, that are relevant to learners.
So what I'm just going to leave you with is, we've just learned about all of these resources. And hopefully you're going to take some time to explore some of them. Be thinking about, as you move forward-- not just in the virtual world, but when we get back to face-to-face, think of what opportunities these tools can allow you to provide rich opportunities for reading that might extend beyond the classroom.
And in doing that, it's really coming down to thinking about, where does this fit into a sequence? What tools am I using with my students right now to share our content or to organize content or to manage content such as these? And how would I use these effectively within those so that I'm providing students with access?
And you could use tools like this that allow you to assign and then ask students comprehension questions like quiz-based tools. So it's really just thinking through, where does this fit in? Or do I just want to make these options for students to work on on their own? And that's perfectly acceptable.
One of the tools that-- so a tool that we've used, that I've been using to drive this presentation, Wakelet-- one of the things that I've done with it is work with teachers to take other resources and pull together the stories from Reading Skills for Today's Adults into a Wakelet. So now, instead of just going to the Reading Skills for Today's Adults site we've built in vocabulary practice for that story using Quizlet. So remember that supplement I showed you? We took the vocab words from the supplement and made a Quizlet out of it. Students can link directly to the story. And then we created Google Forms quiz for that, to practice reading comprehension. So not only are they getting the story with all those recordings, but there's also digital ways to be practicing vocabulary and for them to be doing a formative assessment comprehension check independently, where they can do it and they're going to get feedback.
So how would you implement office use of-- offline use of Read Theory? Read Theory is one that you will not be able to use offline. That is an online only. They do have very inexpensive stories and packets of stories as handouts, as PDFs that you might want to look into if you go to the site. But only ReadWorks and CommonLit-- this is a question that was asked about if students don't have online access. CommonLit and ReadWorks both allow you to print out those stories, as does Reading Skills for Today's Adults. So all three of those are resources that allow you to print things out.
We Speak New York was another one, that one that I just showed you. Obviously the videos are online. But the scripts and the readers-- the scripts and the storyboards that walk through in almost a graphic novel format, but with just images-- both of those are available for you to download and to print out for your students.
Well, with that, I will say thank you. And I hope you all have a wonderful remainder of your Tuesday.