READ 180

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READ 180 is a reading intervention program, utilizing adaptive technology, in wide use by students in Grades 4–12 who read at least two years below grade level. It was created by Scholastic Corporation. In 2011, Scholastic released its newest version, READ 180 Next Generation, which has been fully aligned to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.[1] Scholastic sold READ 180 to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015.[2]

READ 180 is based on a blended instructional model that includes whole-group instruction and three small-group rotations, adaptive software, differentiated instruction, and independent reading.

The program has three different versions: Upper Elementary (Grades 4–5), Middle School (Grades 6-8), and High School (Grades 9–12).


The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) is a technology-based universal screener and progress monitor. SRI is used to generate a Lexile, or readability level, for each student. The purpose of administering the SRI is to determine if the student is a candidate for intervention. SRI is software that “assesses students’ reading levels, tracks students’ growth over time, and helps guide instruction according to students’ needs.” [3]

READ 180 is a reading intervention program that provides individualized instruction to meet each student’s reading needs. The technology collects data based on individual responses and adjusts instruction to meet each students’ needs at their level, accelerating their path to reading mastery.[4]

Teachers begin and end each class session with whole-group instruction. Next students break into one of three rotations. First, the teacher leads small-group instruction, using the READ 180 worktext called the rBook, teachers monitor reading and differentiate instruction based on students’ needs. Second, students work independently in the READ 180 software. The software leads students through five Learning Zones: the Reading Zone, the Word Zone, the Spelling Zone, the Success Zone, and the Writing Zone. Third, the students read independently in Independent Reading. Students select from the READ 180 paperback or audiobook library and read a fiction or nonfiction book (or eRead).[5]


READ 180 was founded in 1985 by Ted Hasselbring and members of the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University. With a grant from the United States Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, Dr. Hasselbring developed software that used student performance data to individualize and differentiate the path of computerized reading instruction.[6] This software became the prototype for the READ 180 program.

Between 1994 and 1998, Dr. Hasselbring and his team put their work to the test in Orange County, Florida. The Orange County Literacy Project used this READ 180 prototype with more than 10,000 struggling students. The dramatic results Orange County public schools experienced were documented in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.[7] These results led Scholastic to partner with Orange County public schools and Vanderbilt University to license the software, and to launch READ 180.

After the initial launch of READ 180, Scholastic released Enterprise Edition in 2006 in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Feldman and Dr. Kate Kinsella. READ 180 Enterprise Edition featured the READ 180 rBook, structured engagement routines for English language learners, and the Scholastic Achievement Manager (SAM).[8]


A number of studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of using READ 180 in the classroom. The company's webpage includes a searchable list of research articles.

Below is a sample of some of the current research available on READ 180.

The U.S. Department of Education Striving Readers Project shows READ 180 effective in combating adolescent illiteracy.[9]

The Institute for Educational Science (IES) What Works Clearinghouse recognized READ 180 for potentially positive effects in comprehension and general literacy achievement. [10]

Slavin, Cheung, and Groff, and Lake (2008) placed READ 180 in a select group of adolescent literacy programs that showed more evidence of effectiveness than 121 other programs reviewed.

Harty, Fitzgerald, and Porter (2008) indicated that READ 180 can be successfully implemented in an afterschool setting. Lang, Torgesen, Vogel, Chanter, Lefsky, and Petscher (2009) published a study which indicated that ninth-grade students enrolled in READ 180 exceeded the benchmark for expected yearly growth on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

De La Paz (1997) documented the foundational research conducted by Dr. Ted Hasselbring and his team from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.


  1. ^ A webpage about READ 180.
  2. ^ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Acquire Scholastic’s Educational Technology and Services Business for $575 Million
  3. ^ A webpage Archived 2012-12-13 at the Wayback Machine about SRI.
  4. ^ A PDF Research Foundation Paper.
  5. ^ A webpage regarding how READ 180 is used.
  6. ^ A PDF READ 180: A Heritage of Research.
  7. ^ A PDF An Alignment Guide.
  8. ^ Compendium of READ 180 Research History of READ 180.
  9. ^ A Press Release Research Shows READ 180 Effective in Combating Adolescent Illiteracy.
  10. ^ A Press Release What Works Clearinghouse Confirms Scholastic Read 180 Works.
  • Slavin, R. E., Cheung, A., Groff, C., & Lake, C. (2008). Effective reading programs for middle and high schools: A best evidence synthesis. Reading Research Quarterly, 43 (3), 290–322.
  • Harty, Fitzgerald, & Porter. (2008). Implementing a Structured reading program in an afterschool setting: Problems and potential solutions. Harvard Educational Review.
  • Lang, L., Torgesen, J. K., Vogel, W., Chanter, C., Lefsky, E., & Petscher, Y. (2009). Exploring the relative effectiveness of reading interventions for high school students. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2: 149–175.
  • De La Paz, S. (1997). Managing cognitive demands for writing: Comparing the effects of instructional components in strategy instruction. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 23, 249–266.