As many of us are heading into uncharted territory with the recent outbreak of Covid-19 (novel coronavirus), ReadTheory is here to offer your students an opportunity to continue learning while not in school. Social distancing, as well as government-forced school closings, are pushing education online. This is a time when we can accept the challenge of being educators in the 21st century and shift our instruction to online platforms while coming together as a community.
This article is solely about using ReadTheory to facilitate remote learning. For more tips about remote teaching visit this page.
Using ReadTheory while remote teaching
I’ve been using ReadTheory for a few years now, but the new situation means I would probably start using it more often. In many ways, and although not intentionally, ReadTheory was built for remote teaching. For the teacher, instruction is hands-off while using ReadTheory. You don’t have to be constantly standing over students to assist. The program model is fairly simple allowing students to use it even if they have never before used it.
Set the schedule
The first thing teachers should do as they are beginning their ReadTheory journey is to create a schedule for both yourself and the students. I usually spend the first-week allowing students to get acclimated to the platform. This would include tasks like find your progress report, modify a report by date, and complete the pretest. The second week is when I start assigning points for grades. Personally, I do weekly updates using my students’ knowledge points (KP) on ReadTheory. Each week they need 500 more points to receive a 100; if they can’t achieve that, I do give them a percentage of the total score. For example, if they receive 3,000 out of 4,000 points, that equals 75%.
Typically, my students enjoy this program so much, they want to do many quizzes because they like to see their growth on the graphs, Knowledge Points, and overall Lexile Level. It is usually recommended for at least six ReadTheory quizzes a week, but with our current remote learning, a student could easily do two to three quizzes a day during the weekdays. This is manageable for the students, parents, and teachers.
It’s adaptive, so you don’t need to worry
A feature I like is that the program adjusts to the student’s results. If they passed the quiz, then it will go to the next level. If the student struggles, it will either stay at that level or even go to an easier level so that the student can be successful. Each student will be given passages that fit their Lexile level based on their pretest and average scores. Parents can also be reassured that their kids are getting work that is adequately on their level.
Since the students (and parents) can see immediate results with explanations on why they might have missed a question, it is ideal for remote teaching. Parents can help their students even without educational training because of the detailed reasons as to why a student missed a question.
While this is not entirely necessary while working with the students in-class, when working remotely it is recommended that teachers will set in place specific goals depending on their classes and the time without instruction. Teachers can choose to go by the number of points accumulated, average score, or the number of quizzes taken depending on their situation and class. KP works best for my students because it creates an environment of competition. That is what my high schoolers thrive on.
ReadTheory also grades the quizzes automatically, so it is another step that teachers don’t have to make.
How to use ReadTheory
To aid in the transition to online learning, ReadTheory has created a series of videos that should help those new to program quickly acclimate. These videos go through what ReadTheory is and how to use it effectively. Check out the new teacher guide video if you have never been on the site.
If you don’t have an account yet, you will need to create one here.
Next, and after adding a few details about your class, you will be able to add new students.
You can either ask your students to use the unique code you will see to connect their accounts to yours (here’s a video you can share with them to guide them through the process), or add the students manually yourself. If you need help uploading many students at once you can email our support (support @ readtheory.org) with a list of students and they will do it for you. As you begin to teach remotely, it is imperative to get student accounts created as quickly as possible so that they are able to work.
If you already have an account, once you log into ReadTheory, on the home screen near the upper left corner of the page you will see “create new student accounts / track existing students” in blue. Click the create new student accounts button. From there begin typing in your students’ first and last names, ReadTheory will autofill a username. I always use a default password of my school’s initials and my last name (example: whsbrown). You can do this just as well by clicking “set a default password.” You do not have to include an email for the student account, but be aware that all password reset notifications will go to your email. When you finish click the button at the bottom. You will receive an email with copies of login cards for each student that are easily printed and sent home.
We’re here if you need us
As always, but even more so now, our team is here for any questions or concerns that you might have.
We will keep posting new content on a weekly basis on how to simplify the transition to remote teaching and ease the lives of both teachers and students, so stay tuned. And stay healthy!