Stage B
Getting Students' Scores to Soar in READ 180 Universal's Reading Zone!
  • April 26, 2018

The Reading Zone can be one of the most challenging zones in READ 180 Universal's software. It challenges students to answer high-level questions that require close reading skills and reading strategies that are used by successful readers.  How do you get your students' scores to soar in READ 180 Universal's Reading Zone?  Follow these tips to jump-start your students' success in this zone. 

 Step 1

 Step 2

  •      Understand the Reading Skills that are assessed in the Reading Zone

These skills include:

  •       Cause and Effect
  •        Central Ideas and Details
  •        Sequence
  •      Summary

 Step 3

Implement these 5 tips to assist your students in achieving greater success

1)       First, check the software level your student has been placed on. Sometimes students are placed on a level that is either too difficult or easy for them. You can change the levels under Class Management in Teacher Central.

Go to:

·         Class Management

·          "Select Profile" and choose a student

·         Click Product Settings (EDIT)

·         Below "Leveling" set student's next level to a level that more accurately reflects your student's ability to answer comprehension questions in the Reading Zone.

2)      Make certain that the students have viewed the segment's Anchor Video at least twice- and have listened to and read the Anchor Text at least two times before answering the questions. Sometimes students rush through these sections thinking that the end result is to answer the questions and move onto the next zone. The goal, of course, is for students to learn how to do a close reading of a text.

3)      Remind students to use the tools in the Support Tray which includes the Anchor Video, Read Aloud, Recording, Strategy, and Power Words as they learn the content of the Anchor text. 

4)       When students are asked to rate their understanding of the segment concept and the Anchor text, suggest that they choose either the first or second face icon. Or if they are unsure, they can choose the "I Don’t Know" button. If they choose the face icon that states "I've Got This!", then the questions they have to answer will be more challenging and may be out of their range. I tell my students to choose either "I need to work on this" or the second face icon because the program will offer more supports and manageable questions that address the task at hand.

5)       Check the Comprehension Skills report which gives specific data for each student in the following reading skills:

  •         Author's Purpose
  •       Point of View
  •         Cause and Effect
  •    Central idea and Details
  •       Compare and Contrast
  •        Context Clues
  •       Description
  •      Inferences
  •       Main Idea
  •     Problem and solution
  •     Sequence
  •         Summary

Spend time with the whole or small group instruction addressing common areas of concern for your class using the lessons in the Real Book and other resources in SAM. Direct instruction in these reading strategies will give your students the skills they need when answering questions in the reading zone.

Personal Note

Even after implementing the above tips, I observed that my students still struggled with the Reading Zone questions. I created a "Jane Doe" account and walked my students through the Explore and Reading Zones for a segment. I reviewed the procedures of highlighting text, using the speaker icon to listen to the question and responses read to them, and returning to the text for additional information.  I showed them the process that good readers use by thinking aloud with them. For example, with a sequencing question, I said "Hmm... I wonder which event happened first in this passage? I think I should scroll up to the beginning of the text to take a look."  I also modeled the importance of not rushing through the Anchor Text and the comprehension questions.  I thoughtfully considered each question and rephrased it until I understood it. I asked my students what they thought the question was asking and then the process they would use in answering it. After this walkthrough, I received many "ah-ha's " and "now I get it" comments from my students. In time, I noticed my students implementing these strategies as they worked through the Reading Zone questions, and their scores and confidence as readers began to increase.


Although the Reading Zone can be one of the most challenging zones in READ 180 Universal's software, direct and systematic instruction on how to complete the zone, along with additional instruction in reading strategies, will not only improve students' scores but also give them the tools they need for independent reading.

When lessons are challenging and students work through them with perseverance and support, the experience of completing a segment is a great reason to celebrate with personal photos and classroom recognition. 

Leave your comments about your experience with READ 180's Universal Reading Zone.  I promise to respond to your comments and provide any additional information you need to make the Reading Zone a successful experience for your students.




  • tvickers

    Kudos on this blog! I'm trying to prepare myself as much as I can before school starts because we aren't getting our Universal training until the day before we have kids. Using a "Jane Doe" account is a wonderful idea! I am going to try to do that before school starts. Thank you for all of these tips, I will definitely share this with my fellow district 180 teachers.

    Great tips, thank you! I did not know that selecting "I've got this!" would make the questions more challenging. I guarantee my students didn't know this either! I also like the idea of going through the experience with "Jane Doe" account. That's really probably the only way to truly know what they are experiencing so that we can help them through it. Thanks!