Addressing ELA Standards w/Paired Texts

Hello friends, I'm guessing some of our members are already familiar with the ReadWorks site. At this site, you can search for reading materials based on Lexile (or grade) Level as well as by topic. We are using more informational texts these days, but you can also find poetry and narrative texts on ReadWorks. After registering on the site for free, you can download PDFs of the articles and print them. Each article is aligned to specific standards and includes question sets for each.

A feature I especially like is that you can choose to search for "paired texts," i.e., texts on similar themes to support students to extend their knowledge and understanding of a topic and to address ELA Anchor 9: "Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take."

For instance, an article about "Earth Science: Hurricanes" at Lexile Level 830 is paired with an article about "Spinning Thunderstorms," i.e., tornadoes.

See below for an example of the questions posed about the two articles.  How well do you think these questions address ELA 9? 

Looking forward to members' thoughts on addressing the ELA standards and the usefulness of these and other resources, too.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, College and Career Standards CoP





I'm always happy to learn of new online resources and this is a great one.  Thanks, Susan.

Your paired texts and accompanying questions address the ELA Reading Standard 9 nicely.  

Another great resource for paired texts and questions by Lori Howard and Jayme Adelson-Goldstein is Oxford's Read and Reflect 1 and 2.

Thanks, again!


In addition to the paired text feature that Susan described, I particularly like the vocabulary worksheet that's included on a separate tab.  Students can deepen their understanding of a word from the text by answering the four questions that are posed.  These include getting the meaning from the context, providing evidence of this meaning from the text, and writing something that will help them remember its meaning and usage so that they will be able to use it in future speaking and listening.  I look forward to trying this tool along with the paired readings that support ELA Anchor #9 so well. 

Hello Donna and all, Thanks for highlighting this vocabulary development aspect of ReadWorks. In addition to the student vocabulary worksheet that Donna mentioned, the site also provides 1) vocabulary explanations for certain key academic words, 2) part of speech and certain details about how the word is used grammatically, 3) cognates in Spanish (i.e., words that have a similar spelling and meaning in both English and Spanish), and 4) example sentences to illustrate how the words are often used. For example, in an article about the landing of NASA's Curiosity space rover on Mars "Seven Minutes of Terror, Eight Years of Ingenuity," the words maneuver and descent are explored in some depth. (Incidentally, the article paired with this one is "From the Earth to Outer Space.")

Not every article on ReadWorks has in depth vocabulary resources. ReadWorks allows you to search by a number of features, including keyword, topic, lexile level, text type, and skill or strategy. You can also choose "vocabulary" as one of the search criteria to find articles that include the in depth vocabulary materials.

Every lesson is also aligned to the K12 Common Core State Standards, and it is easy to identify which of those standards are the same in the College and Career Readiness Standards.

With regard to the CCRS, I recently read over the standards to determine where vocabulary is mentioned. Each of the following ELA standards focuses on vocabulary.

►Reading 1.C ►Reading 4.A, B, C, D ►Language 4.A, B, C, D ►Language 5.A, B, C ►Language 6.A, B, C, D   Are you surprised to see how many standards emphasize the importance of vocabulary?   How do you typically approach vocabulary instruction? How do you prioritize which academic words to devote precious classroom time to?   Cheers, Susan Finn Miller Moderator, College and Career Standards CoP

I also use ReadWorks frequently (although I often supplement the questions with my own). Even the texts that they do not mark as being paired texts often pair well with topics from the GED textbook. It's nice to complement the textbook's brief overview with a more in-depth, often more interesting take from ReadWorks. It's also a good way to have students compare/contrast two common types of text: the informational article and the textbook.