Lessons & Units

Research Base

ReadWorks is based on the highest quality research, beginning with the seminal findings of the National Reading Panel (NRP) and RAND Reading Study Group, and continuing with the most highly regarded, current, research evidence.

Complementing the written research, we’ve developed ReadWorks by working with some of the best researchers and practitioners in the country, in addition to teachers and principals in classrooms across the nation.

Below are the core research-based pillars of ReadWorks.

The findings of the National Reading Panel.

The RAND Reading Study Group, "Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension" (2002)

Explicit teaching of comprehension skills. To help achieve better outcomes, all ReadWorks lessons provide teachers with specific, measurable learning objectives and give students language for modeling comprehension skills. [Details]

Frequent interactive read-aloudsReadWorks lessons in grades K-4 combine reading and listening to help younger readers develop comprehension skills. [Details]

Use of the gradual release of responsibility methodology. All ReadWorks lessons let the teacher first model reading comprehension skills and then slowly release responsibility to the student through practice and eventually independent work. [Details]

A robust approach to vocabularyReadWorks lessons teach vocabulary directly and indirectly, and give the teacher the language for introducing new words. [Details]

Intentional background knowledge developmentReadWorks lessons take advantage of the fact that students comprehend more when they already know something about the content. [Details]

Text structure and syntaxReadWorks lessons provide teachers with content and guidance to help them instruct students in recognizing and understanding non-fiction and narrative text structures. In addition, lessons focus on student comprehension at the sentence level where comprehension often breaks down. [Details]


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