5 of the Best FREE Websites to Visit for your Special Education Students!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

  As a Special Education teacher, I'm always trying to find effective but interactive websites for my SPED kids. I usually look for something that can give me great data and keep them entertained for at least 35 minutes during class time. At my school, we share the laptops with other classrooms so I'm not able to use the laptops at whim but they come in handy during short days or after a Friday quiz. I've chosen 5 of the best and most effective websites for Special Education students who thrive off of an interactive platform.

1. Read Theory


   Read Theory has hundreds of free reading passages for students of all grade levels. You can create a teacher account and then make student accounts for your kids. After a student creates an account, they take a reading quiz to gauge what reading level they are. The student then continues to read passages that are at their level. However, if they begin to answer few reading comprehension questions incorrectly, they can drop down a level or raise their reading level with correct answer choices. My students love to track their scores and make sure that they aren't dropping too low. The data on Read Theory is phenomenal in that you can have all your kids' reading levels on one document. You can track their progress as well. I highly recommend Read Theory for SPED ELA and History teachers who want to sharpen their student's reading comprehension skills.

2. Read Works


   Read Works is much like Read Theory in that it also has a wide array of FREE reading comprehension passages. You can create a teacher account and get access to all of their reading passages at all grade levels. Although my kids are 8th graders, their reading levels are within the 2nd and 3rd-grade range so I usually print out stories and quizzes from this website so they can read independently. They have articles on anything from Science to History. There is even an option for an audio version of the text to play aloud in class. Each story has illustrations, vocabulary words complete with definitions, and a quiz with both multiple choice and short written response. These are great to print out and read along together to work on crucial reading comprehension skills.

3. News ELA


 This website has both paid and free features but the free account is still pretty awesome. I have an account linked to my Gmail and there hundreds to possibly thousands of articles at my fingertips as soon as I sign in. Much like Read Works, News ELA has articles ranging in all subjects and current events that are written at different reading levels. Every article has a quiz as well as a relevant writing prompt. Whenever something interesting has hit the news cycle, I always find a relevant article on News ELA that goes into depth. I typically assign News ELA as an activity on a short day, as a supplemental activity to a larger lesson, an independent activity, or group work. If you don't already have an account, I highly suggest you make one as soon as you can especially if you teach ELA, Science, History or the Arts.

4. Prodigy


  Prodigy is more math centered and is an interactive game for students in grade 1 through 8. My small SPED 8th-grade math class LOVED Prodigy last year. They found it to be very engaging and helpful. This game requires students to create a character that goes on a quest. The students can interact with each other by battling. I would say that this game reminds me of one of those popular fantasy roleplay games that are popular online. After you create your teacher and student accounts, you can place your students on a particular math level in order to refine their skills in a certain area. My SPED 8th graders were still working on decimals and fractions so many of the games they played on Prodigy required them to solve math equations prior to battling someone or moving on to the next level. This is the perfect game for your most restless of students who just may beg to play this daily. I highly recommend this website for SPED math.

5. CNN 10


  CNN 10, originally CNN Kids News, is a 10-minute news program for students or adults. CNN 10 gives you highlights of the most popular news from the previous day. This short highlight reel is perfect to introduce current events and start engaging conversations in the classroom. I tend to use CNN 10 as a treat if the students have been working quite well for most of the period. Each episode is typically very clear and concise. CNN 10 can be used to introduce writing assignments based on current events as well. I've also used their videos to clear up any misconceptions about what has happened in the news recently. CNN 10 can be used in a classroom of any subject and is perfect for brain breaks and rewarding students for appropriate classroom behaviors.

If you liked these resources, check out my 
Special Education Resources at my 

I have resources that address ADHDAutismReading ComprehensionBehavior Monitoring, and Daily Classroom Warm-Ups.

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