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Teacher from Rural Community Launches Free Literacy Tool for Students of All Reading Levels

Teacher from Rural Community Launches Free Literacy Tool for Students of All Reading Levels

Available with a free account, CommonLit’s new features offer teachers and parents access to free reading materials and question sets along with the option of grading and sending written feedback.

Created by Michelle Brown, a former teacher from a high-poverty, rural school district in Mississippi, CommonLit was designed to offer all students—regardless of their economic status—a chance to access quality literacy tools by assessing the quality materials the education technology market has to offer.

Specifically, "CommonLit’s digital library contains over 450 lessons that include authentic published works from National Public Radio, Science News for Students, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Digital Public Library of America, and more. Each lesson includes a standards-aligned question set, a discussion guide, linked to related multimedia, and a guide to engage parents and promote literacy development at home,” said the company in a statement.

Based entirely on research, CommonLit is designed around proof that students learn best when texts are differentiated by reading level.

Additionally, reading materials are divided by theme, a practice that has been proven to get more students reading outside of the classroom. Examples of themes include “Growing Up,” “Justice, Freedom and Equality,” “Resilience,” “Man vs. Nature” and many more.

The platform is designed in such a way that students are encouraged to discuss, form opinions and defend their claims after reading new material, practices that research supports turns students into readers for life.

In 2014, CommonLit performed a quasi-experiment that found the platform significantly improves student engagement, providing students with a sense of expertise and increased self-confidence as a learner.

After analyzing how CommonLit was used in various classrooms, the research team concluded that "the CommonLit intervention merits further research to study its effectiveness as a tool to make adolescents more engaged in reading.” The entire paper can be read in its entirety here.

To sign up for your free account, see here. Watch the tutorial below to get an idea for how using the tool works. 

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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