Readtheory.org is a free website by the same people who make the excellent ESL website, englishforeveryone.org I enjoy using it with a multilevel class because it can adjust to each student’s reading level. Since our state-mandated tests are only reading-based, this is great practice for testing as well.
As the teacher, I can easily create a class on the site and give my students a username and password. I use the same easy-to-remember password for all of the students because lost or forgotten passwords are the bane of my existence in the computer lab. No email address is required (though can be easily added by the student later) to get them signed on the first time.
When students first log on, they are given a pretest. The pretest doesn’t tell the students if they get the answers right or wrong, but it attempts to give them a proper level when the test is over. Then, it begins to adjust to the student.
A new feature I’ve noticed is the ability for students to write short answers, which I as the teacher can review online. I’m excited to use this new feature.
Read Theory also shows me graphs and reports for my class that show student progress, how much they are reading, and what level they are reading.
In the past, if I remember correctly, there wasn’t a pretest and students started at the easy level and then the site adjusted accordingly. I liked that better because I have some beginning English readers and the reading-level of the pretest itself can be very discouraging. I sometimes just click through the pretest on their behalf to get them to the easiest reading level. Unfortunately, even the easiest level is too hard for some students.
For these emergent English readers, I’m liking readworks.org, which I’ll write about in another post.
For intermediate to advanced readers, though, readtheory.org is a great resource for adult ESL students.