Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question? Please peruse our FAQ below.
Click on a heading to zoom to its contents. If you still can’t find your answer, feel free to contact us.
- Getting Started
- Logging In
- Class Management
- Progress Reports
- Reading Levels
- Knowledge Points
Do you have a informational pamphlet to inform parents about your program?
We sure do. You can view our parent flyer for this information.
How do I track my students’ progress after they begin reading?
To track progress, students and teachers need to do the following…
- Students navigate to ReadTheory.org in their internet browser.
- Students sign up.
- Students log in.
- Students go to the “My Teachers” page.
- Students enter YOUR email address -the one you use to log in to ReadTheory- in the space provided.
- Students click the “Send Invitation” button.
- Teacher logs in.
- Teacher reviews pending student invitations on the My Students page.
- Teacher clicks the “Accept” button beside each invitation.
- Teacher goes to the Progress Reports page and begins to track progress.
*Note that progress will not show up until a student has taken the pretest and completed at least one program quiz.
How many students/classes may I register on a single teacher account?
There is no limit as to how many class rosters a teacher account can set up, and there’s no limit as to how many students can be on each roster. However, for practical and aesthetic reasons, you may find it useful to keep the number of students per roster under 35, and the number of rosters per teacher account under 10.
How can I choose a reading level for my students?
On ReadTheory, reading levels are never assigned manually. All students logging in for the first time will need to take our placement pretest, which starts on a third grade level by default. If that material is too difficult, the pretest will immediately adjust to show first and second grade material instead. Similarly, if it’s too easy, the pretest will progressively move up to grades four, five, and beyond.
All students will be moving within a range of levels at all times so that they will be continually challenged. This provides for maximum differentiation and individualized learning. Our site is fully interactive and responsive, so students will only ever see content based on their previous performance.
How can I choose which passages my students will read?
On ReadTheory, individual passages are never assigned manually. After our placement pretest, students will be placed at a level, and our program will draw a passage at random from within that level for the student.
Each time a student passes a full quiz (scores between 70% and 89%), the student remains at the same level. If the student fails the quiz (scores 69% or less), then the quiz is replaced into the pool of available quizzes and the student’s level decreases. If the student performs outstandingly on the quiz (scores 90% or more), the student’s level increases. In each case, a new quiz will be randomly drawn from the appropriate pool of available quizzes at the student’s level.
I am logged into my teacher account, and I can’t find any of your passages. Where are they?
Student and teacher accounts are equipped with different functions, and accounts cannot flip back and forth between these functions. You are currently accessing ReadTheory from your teacher account, which is unequipped to access our quizzes. Teacher accounts only provide administrative and statistical oversight for student accounts.
If you would like to test-drive the site from the perspective of a student, we suggest that you create a student account for yourself. From there, you’ll be able to see our reading materials.
Is there any research available to document the effectiveness of ReadTheory?
We completed a preliminary research study in March 2016 documenting the feedback of 1,100 teachers who used our program in 2015. Review our preliminary study results to learn how ReadTheory improves test scores, grades, and confidence. Two neutral third parties are also conducting research of their own concerning the effectiveness of our program. We know that this information is important to teachers and schools that wish to formally integrate our program into their curricula, especially for RTI, and plan to continue such research moving forward as our program becomes more widespread. When each new study that becomes available, we’ll make a new, prominent posting on our site.
How much does it cost to use ReadTheory? What are your licensing fees?
We are proud of the fact that ReadTheory is free and available to all. There are no licensing fees involved in using ReadTheory.
Are you really free? Are my students eventually going to hit a paywall or some other catch?
ReadTheory LLC is a small, independent business. We sustain our free site, ReadTheory.org, through a combination of advertising and the sale of print materials at our sister site, ReadTheoryWorkbooks.com. If you are interested in obtaining high-quality print versions of our passages, all of our workbooks are reasonably priced at just $0.99 (USD) per book, with discounts for those who buy in bulk. Rest assured, however, that there is no pressure to buy workbooks in order to gain access to the interactive site, ReadTheory.org.
ReadTheory is completely free of charge for an unlimited number of students per school. Putting any kind of paywall on the site is not part of our plans. We are currently able to support ourselves through the means outlined above, and hope to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
Because displaying ads is a crucial part of how we are able to sustain ourselves, we kindly request that you disable any ad-blocking browser plugins you may be using while visiting our site. Thank you for your understanding.
How do my students log in?
All logins proceed through www.ReadTheory.org/auth/login (this URL will not work if you are currently logged in!).
When my students try to log in, they are being told that their usernames are already taken. What’s wrong?
This error message appears when users accidentally access our Sign Up page instead of our Login page. Our login page is located at ReadTheory.org/auth/login (this URL will not work if you are currently logged in!).
I can’t find my students’ password(s) anymore. Where are they?
When teachers create student accounts, a copy of all usernames and passwords is sent to their email address automatically. For security reasons, passwords are encrypted upon creation and cannot be viewed or printed again in plain text form. Even site administrators cannot call up your students’ passwords after they are set. If you are unable to find the email containing this information, or if the login credentials are not working, you will need to choose a new password for your students.
Can I reset my students’ password(s) for them?
Yes. When you log into your teacher account, you are brought directly to your “My Students” page. To reset student passwords, click the small grey checkboxes next to the affected students’ names and then click the blue “Reset Password” link at the top of the list. You will be prompted to enter a new password twice and then click submit. Your students will be given the new passwords immediately and will be able to log in. All passwords are case-sensitive and must be at least 8 characters long.
I used the “I forgot my username” feature but never received a response. Why not?
Sometimes, users who use our “forgot my password/username” button report finding our messages in their spam folders. Please don’t forget to check your spam folder if you do not receive an automatically generated message from us right away.
Furthermore, some school districts’ email servers prevent users from receiving automatically generated messages and/or messages from unknown senders. When this happens, the email bounces back to us immediately and it will never make it to your inbox or your spam filter at all. We have no way of working around these security filters, so please inquire with your school’s or district’s IT personnel if you suspect that your incoming mail is being filtered.
You can always contact us at support@ReadTheory.org if you are not receiving our automatically generated password or username reminder emails for any reason. A real, live human will respond to your message within one business day.
My student was unexpectedly logged out of his/her account while working. Why did this happen?
This is a security feature. This occurs when our site logs users out after a certain time period of what seems like inactivity. We do not put time pressure on our users because we want them to be able to digest our passages to the fullest extent possible, but sometimes this means that users’ log-in sessions time out while they are still reading. If this happens to your students, they can simply log back in to pick up where they left off. As long as your students were working on our full-length multiple choice quizzes (i.e., NOT the placement pretest or an essay question), their progress will be saved.
My student encountered a “this request is not supported” error message while working on the pretest. Why did this happen?
Again, this occurs when our site logs users out after a certain time period of what seems like inactivity. For security reasons, our site automatically logs users out after several minutes of what seems like inactivity. The vast majority of students are able to complete the pretest quiz as well as most full-length quizzes before this security measure affects them. We encourage students to complete the pretest without taking any breaks, as their progress can be lost in this way.
When User A tries to log in, she keeps being redirected to User B’s account. Why is that?
All users sharing one device must log out in order for other users to log in. Please remember to click your username followed by Logout in the upper right-hand corner of the page any time you wish to log out of the site. If you do not log out manually, other users who share your computer, phone, or tablet may be able to access your account without your consent.
Another user saved his login information on my browser, and now it appears automatically whenever I try to log in. How can I remove it?
There are as many different ways to add or remove saved login credentials as there are browsers. We recommend that you search the web for the name of your web browser plus the phrase “forget saved password,” or use your browser’s Help and/or Settings functions. We are unable to provide instructions for every version of every browser that is compatible with our site.
If you are unable to find instructions for removing saved password information in your browser, one temporary solution is to simply use another browser instead.
A student disappeared from my roster. How did this happen?
Because student accounts ultimately belong to the students themselves (and the parents/guardians of said students), we allow them to edit their login information and drop/add classes. We know that this can lead to situations where students either accidentally or deliberately disrupt their classes by removing themselves from their classes. However, if a teacher notices that this has occurred, it is up to him or her to discuss the situation with the student in a way that he or she deems appropriate.
This situation is always reversible. You’ll need to have your student log in and send you an invitation to track her progress. Once you accept the invitation, your student will be re-added to your list of current students.
I have created more than one class list, but I can only find one list when I log in. Where is the other one?
Near the top of the roster on your My Classes page, there is a small drop-down menu. This menu will allow you to toggle through your various classes.
If this menu is empty but you are certain that you have created more than one class list, your other list may actually be on an alternate teacher account that you aren’t currently viewing. Please contact us for more information.
How can I turn off the writing option for my students?
You can use the pencil icon from within your teacher account’s view to toggle essay questions on or off for your students. Click the OFF/ON button to toggle student written responses off or on.
I team teach. / A student has moved from my class to a colleague’s class. Does the student need a new account? / My students have moved up a grade level and now they all have different teachers. Do they need new accounts?
Multiple teachers can track the progress of a single student. Just have the student send the new teacher an invitation. Once the invitation is accepted, the new teacher will be able to track their progress.
How do I measure progress on ReadTheory?
Our teachers use ReadTheory in a number of different ways. Because students’ needs and goals can be so varied and individualized, we think teachers are the best judges of how to introduce ReadTheory into their classes and do not endorse any single, specific approach. Here are some suggestions for you to choose or modify as you see fit…
- Use our placement pretest as a benchmark to set improvement goals on an individual basis, or for a collaborative class-average goal. ReadTheory makes it easy to track your students’ grade progress over time. It also enables you to see the Lexile® text measures of the passages read by your students. Note that Lexile® measures DO NOT indicate the student’s level of comprehension of the passages or the Lexile® measure of the student.
- Set a benchmark number of quizzes that you expect students to pass every week (month, etc.). You may find it helpful to count only quizzes within a certain range of grade levels, rather than accepting all quizzes towards this goal.
- Log into ReadTheory as an in-class activity for a certain amount of time per week, perhaps as a participation grade. Note that the amount of time and effort needed to complete a quiz depends on many factors, including each student’s reading abilities, the length and difficulty of the passages presented, and the number of questions accompanying each passage.
Note: The only approach we do NOT recommend is using only raw quiz scores to influence students’ overall grades. We do not provide averages of students’ correct answers on all quizzes. This would mix percentages from across multiple grade levels. For instance, if a student scores 90% on a grade 5 quiz, s/he will then be leveled up and presented with a grade 6 quiz. On that grade 6 quiz, she may then only score a 70%. This yields an average score of 80%, but this does NOT reflect the increased difficulty of the higher-level quiz. That average is unweighted for difficulty.
My students have logged in, but they have no data on their progress reports. Why is that?
A student’s progress report begins reflecting data once the student has completed the placement pretest and at least one full-length quiz on top of that. If your student has not yet begun completing any full-length quizzes, this explains the absence of data. The progress report will automatically update once he or she completes a full quiz.
How can I share students’ progress with their parents/guardians?
You can share student progress in a number of ways. The easiest way is to make sure that parents know their children’s usernames and passwords. If parents have access to this information, they can log into the student’s account and check the student’s progress report at home.
Alternatively, you can print your students’ individual progress reports from within your teacher account and send these reports home.
Some of your Progress Report graphs feature dotted lines in the background. What do they mean?
On our graphs, dotted lines represent averages. For instance, if four students in your class finished the placement pretest at an 8th grade level and four students finished at a 6th grade level, the dotted line on the Pretest Grade Level Performance graph will run horizontally at y = 7, because the average performance in your class was at a 7th grade level.
Some of your Progress Report graphs feature yellow diamonds in each column. What do these mean?
Yellow diamonds represent a student’s static, unchangeable performance on the placement pretest relative to his or her performance on our full-length quizzes. This is to help you gauge whether your students are improving over time.
For instance, if a student completed the placement pretest at a 5th grade level but consistently works at a 6th grade level on our full-length quizzes, the yellow diamond will appear below the top of student’s bar on the Posttest Grade Level Performance graph. The top of the bar will be at y=6, while the diamond will be at y=5. The difference represents the student’s progress.
Where can I find more information about the Common Core State Standards?
In the top-right corner of the Mastery of ELA Common Core State Standards Graph,” there is a link to learn more about these standards. If you click on the “learn more” link, a new window will open with detail descriptions of our question types.
Official information is also available at corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/
I only want to view student progress data from a certain day/week/month. How can I filter this?
At the top of your whole-class and individual students’ progress reports, there are two input boxes labeled “Begin Date” and “End Date.” If you click on these boxes, a calendar will appear. You can use this calendar to specify a date range for your progress report’s view.
What are Lexile® levels?
Lexile levels used in Read Theory are measures of text complexity. We contract with MetaMetrics®, the inventors of the Lexile® framework, to compute the Lexile® levels for each passage. There is a range of acceptable Lexile® levels that can be appropriate for students in each grade level. For our mapping of Lexile® levels onto grade levels, we follow a mix of the 25th to 75th percentile scores from the Text Demand Study 2009 and the 2012 CCSS Text Measures. There is some overlap between the grade levels on this scale.
How do Lexile® levels compare to Fountas and Pinnell?
Metametrics, the makers of the Lexile® system, uses a data-based approach to assigning text levels. It measures sentence length, complexity, and word frequency to determine the level of a text. Fountas and Pinnell is another widely-used system for levelling texts. While the two systems are not directly comparable owing to their differing methodologies, this comparison chart can be used as a guide when integrating ReadTheory into your school-wide literacy program.
How do Lexile® levels relate to CEFR, IELTS, TOEFL, or ACTFL?
Please check out our handy ReadTheory, Lexile®, and CEFR guide. It provides details on how Lexile® and CEFR relate as well as the limitations in doing direct comparisons between the two system.
What are “points”? How are they different from grade and Lexile® levels?
Our points are solely motivational in nature. Unlike grade and Lexile® levels, they do not reflect any deeper pedagogical meaning.
What are your progress level emblems? What do they mean?
Our emblems are solely motivational in nature. They are a reflection of the points a student has earned on ReadTheory. To view emblems images and point ranges, view an individual student progress report. Then click on the student emblems displayed on that page.
Why have my students’ grades risen or fallen, according to your site?
After the pretest, students will be placed in a grade, and our program will draw a passage at random from within that grade for the student. Each time a student passes a full quiz (scores between 70% and 89%), the student remains at the same grade. If the student fails the quiz (scores 69% or less), then the quiz is replaced into the pool of available quizzes and the student’s grade decreases. If the student performs outstandingly on the quiz (scores 90% or more), the student’s grade increases.
All students will be moving within a range of grade levels at all times so that they will be continually challenged. This provides for maximum differentiation and individualized learning. Our site is fully interactive and responsive, so students will only ever see content based on their previous performance.
My student received an inaccurate entry point based on the pretest. How can I reset this?
Yes, you can reset student progress by clicking the “Reset Progress” button found on the student progress report page while logged in as a teacher. Resetting the progress for this student will result in the loss of ALL his or her quiz data except for points earned, which will remain intact. When this student begins taking quizzes after reset, her or she will be prompted to retake the pretest and continue forward as if entering our program for the first time. This is helpful because it allows teachers to remedy false starts or slumps without invoking any points penalty. Maybe a student had skewed pretest, took a string of quizzes without putting in proper effort, or simply needs a fresh start. In any case, you can easily prompt the student to begin anew. You can also use this feature to re-enroll students for the new year without having to recreate their accounts or reset their points to zero.
My student attempted the pretest, but now s/he’s being told to start over. Why is this happening?
If a student is being asked to repeat the placement pretest, this is generally for one of three reasons.
If you are certain that the students did complete the pretest in its entirety, we ask that you double-check to ensure that they are using precisely the same usernames that appear on your roster. Sometimes students open alternate accounts so that they appear to be working in class, but their progress is not visible to the teacher. This is a very common issue, and sometimes the alternates can be as subtle as an extra space (username Jane S instead of JaneS) or a changed number (JaneS63 instead of JaneS64).
Finally, we always have sample questions on the homepage so that curious new users can see what the site is like before they sign up. Sometimes users who already have accounts get confused and think that they can complete the pretest through these previews, without logging in. We unfortunately can’t recover data from these preview questions. We can only save data from accounts that are logged in.
My student has encountered a passage that is too difficult. Can s/he skip it?
If a passage is too hard, the student will be presented with easier material once he or she receives a low score (under 70%) on the present quiz.
After my student passed a quiz, her grade level did not increase. Why?
Students’ levels do not always increase when they pass a quiz. They must excel on a quiz (score over 90%) in order to move up a level.
After my student passed a quiz, his/her grade level increased, but his/her Lexile measure decreased. How is that possible?
There is no direct correspondence between a specific Lexile® measure and a specific grade level. Within any classroom or grade, there will be a range of readers and a range of reading materials. For example, in a fifth-grade classroom there will be some readers who are ahead of the typical reader (about 250L above) and some readers who are behind the typical reader (about 250L below). To say that some books are “just right” for fifth graders assumes that all fifth graders are reading at the same level. The Lexile® Framework for Reading is intended to match readers with texts at whatever level the reader is reading. MetaMetrics® has studied the ranges of Lexile® reader measures and Lexile® text measures at specific grades in an effort to describe the typical Lexile® measures of texts and the typical Lexile® measures of students of a given grade level. This information is for descriptive purposes only and should not be interpreted as a prescribed guide about what an appropriate reader measure or text measure should be for a given grade. NOTE: These bands do not represent performance levels or performance standards. They provide descriptive information and are appropriate for norm-referenced interpretations only.
My student keeps encountering the same quiz more than once. Why is this happening?
If a user does not pass a quiz (scores under 70%), the quiz is placed back into the pool of quizzes that could be randomly assigned to the student in the future. Only passed quizzes are removed from this pool. By repeating a failed quiz, the user has a second chance to gain points on that quiz, and it helps the user to build up the content knowledge that he or she may have lacked the first time around. The quiz will not reappear immediately. Because passage assignment is random within each reading level, it may be several days or weeks before the quiz returns, but it always remains a possibility.
I would like to reset my students’ progress entirely. How can I do this?
The reset feature can be accessed in the following two ways.
Whole Class Reset: This option is now available directly on your My Classes page. Simply log into your teacher account, and you should be able to see a light grey “Reset Progress” option at the top of each of your rosters. Using this button will reset progress for all students on the roster you are currently viewing. You will be prompted to confirm this choice before proceeding.
Individual Student Reset: Log into your teacher account and navigate to your Progress Reports page by clicking the dark grey icon at the top of the page that looks like a graph. At first, you’ll be brought to your whole-class progress report. Near the top, you’ll find a drop-down menu where you can select an individual student report instead. Use this menu to choose the student whose data you wish to reset. Once that student’s data is shown, there is a grey “Reset Progress” button near the top of the report. When you click this button, the site will prompt you to confirm your choice. Once you’ve done so, the student’s progress will be erased and he or she can begin again from the pretest. Other students’ accounts will remain unaffected.
What is the purpose of knowledge points?
Each student receives knowledge points (KP) for learning and making progress in our program. Knowledge points are used throughout our program and have three primary purposes:
1) To motivate students to read, write, and learn more
2) To communicate a general indication of progress
3) To encourage best effort and to discourage careless click-through
How can students earn knowledge points?
Students can earn knowledge points in the following ways:
Answer a regular question correctly: 1KP
Answer a challenge question correctly: 2KP (+1KP for regular question)
Pass a quiz: 15KP awarded
Get a perfect score on a quiz: 30KP awarded
Complete a written response on a quiz: 1-25KP awarded by teacher
*All point values may be subject to change as we strive to improve our program.
Are knowledge points good for anything aside from the purposes listed above?
Unfortunately, knowledge points do not have any redeemable value in the real world; they cannot be traded in for any physical reward like a medal or badge. They can, however, be used to facilitate in class competitions in which teachers may reward students real world items at their own discretion.
Why don’t you list a phone number on your Contact page?
Like most websites, ReadTheory is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in every country in every time zone in the world. The ReadTheory Team, on the other hand, is a small group of hardworking individuals in two different time zones who would be glad to answer your questions and concerns by email at support@ReadTheory.org.
How can I delete my account?
If you would like to delete your account, please contact us at support@ReadTheory.org with your name, email address, and the username of the account(s) you would like to close.
What is “Focus Mode”?
Clicking “Enter Focus Mode” will switch a student’s browser window to “Full Screen Mode.” This creates a more distraction-free experience and increases the amount of screen space available for the passage and questions to be displayed. It’s the same as pressing F11 on a Windows computer.
My student’s account was suspended. What does this mean?
Student accounts may be suspended due to suspicious or improper use of our program. This may result from careless quiz clickthrough, exceedingly poor performance, or otherwise gaming our system. We reserve the right to take action to suspend a student’s account in an effort to discontinue such activity, as it adversely affects the experience of our program for other users.
My students found an advertisement on your site that makes us uncomfortable. What should we do?
Our ads come to us from a third-party aggregator. We diligently maintain a blacklist of any advertisers that are not appropriate for children so that these companies will not appear on our site. If you or your students ever encounter an ad that you find inappropriate, please report it to us at support@ReadTheory.org along with the URL (web address) of the advertiser in question so that we can add it to our blacklist immediately.
Please note that we need the exact URL of the advertiser in order to block it. We regret that we cannot block advertisers based on keywords or categories alone.
My students do not have constant, reliable internet access. Can we make copies of your passages to work offline?
The only two ways we are able to sustain ReadTheory financially are through the sale of our official workbooks and the viewing of ads on our site. When our materials are reproduced unlawfully, this undermines our ability to keep the site free and open for all.
Every week, we make one passage per grade level available to download on our Printables page. We also sell high-quality printable workbooks at our online store. These are the only two authorized ways to access our content offline.
I have a question or concern that was not addressed in this FAQ. How can I contact you?
You can send us an email at support@ReadTheory.org. We strive to respond to all actionable emails within one business day.