CommonLit- online differentiated activities for teaching reading and literacy

Raise your hand if teaching literacy is important to you?

I feel like when faced with teaching literacy, there are 3 types of educators:

  1. educators who are immediately onboard
  2. educators who are at the station contemplating on getting onboard
  3. and educators who are just too tired to get onboard.

I totally get it!  I’ve been in all 3 positions.  So for my educators not on board yet, let me just present some facts that really left my eyes wide open:

2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

Only 1/3 of students entering high school are proficient in reading in the U.S (National Assessment of Educational Progress)

Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.

So if literacy is being forced down your throat, it’s because of the scary facts above and many many more.  Unfortunately it’s the “being forced down your throat” that prevents teachers from effectively incorporating literacy in their everyday lesson plans (unless you directly teach literacy of course).

Enter Commonlit

Quick backstory:

Commonlit is an awesome online literacy resource created by a former teacher, and it recently received a $4 million grant from the US Department of Education to expand and extend its resources across the world.

So if America backs Commonlit, I back Commonlit.

Honestly, it’s so difficult to summarize CommonLit in a few sentences. So I will try to briefly describe what it is on this post, and provide a more in depth tutorial in a future post.

What is CommonLit:

It’s a literacy tool that provides articles/texts for any subject matter that have been differentiated based on:

  1. lexile range
  2. grade level
  3. topics
  4. related book
  5. language: only Spanish for now

Once you click on an article, you get something like the screen below:

Instead of listing everything great about CommonLit, I created this handy-dandy snapshot so you can really see what it looks like on the website

I really recommend this tool for any grade level and any subject matter (except for languages other than English and Spanish). Once you setup an account, and play around with the tool, you’ll realize how easy differentiation and literacy can be implemented in your classroom.

CommonLit’s Report Card

CommonLit receives an A+ for meeting all the Ed Tech Report Card criteria.

Feel free to tell me how you like this tool, and if you have any questions. Happy teaching!

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