User-Generated Content in Education/ edit is an open source reading intervention program for grades K-6. The program is primarily designed for grades K-3, and has hundreds of research-based activities, lessons and materials that are available at no cost. The research used in developing this program includes the 2000 National Reading Panel research concerning the five Big Ideas in Beginning Reading (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension). [1] FreeReading is currently used by educators in all 50 states and in over 180 countries. [2] Freereading is a F/OSS (Free Reading Software Systems) program designed to improve literacy. It is a high-quality, open source, free reading program designed as an intervention program for K – 1 but can be used for students up to 6th grade.

What does being "open source" mean? edit

Open source refers to the source code as being made available to developers that would like to add/edit content. While the core information is locked, participants are encouraged to share lessons using the Five Big Ideas in Beginning Reading as their guideline. is available for use under the Creative Commons license Attribution-Share Alike 3.0,also known as the "Wiki License" which basically allows you to use content so long as you attribute the origianal content and allow others the use this information as well.

Launched in 2007 edit

FreeReading was launched in 2007 and is the “first free, open source curriculum product approved for use through a state-wide adoption.” [3] During the 2008-2009 school year, all districts within Florida were using this intervention program for the first time. This has helped save valuable dollars that would have been spent on literacy products.

Updates to FreeReading edit

In 2009 FreeReading began a partnership with the Scientific Learning Corporation with the goal of contributing free neuroscience materials and new lessons to FreeReading thus expanding its reach into other subject areas. [4]

Florida State Board of Education Adopts FreeReading edit


In the spring of 2008 Florida became the third state to adopt FreeReading. Districts and schools in Florida are using FreeReading's Intervention A program as an approved intervention tool.[5] This was significant in the online reading movement because "Florida is one of the top five textbook markets in the USA, so the move could lead to development of other free materials that might someday challenge the dominance of big educational publishers." [6] The CEO and Co-Founder of Wireless Generation Larry Berger, stated that "Florida's decision is a significant tipping point, validating the notion that educators will consider high quality open source instructional programs as a viable option to support classroom instruction." [7] For a chart showing how FreeReading correlates to the Florida standards click here.

What does the FreeReading program include? edit

The core content provides activities that are of high quality and research-based. The scope and sequence of the instruction is provided. The 40 week program is a stand alone program, or can be used in conjunction with existing programs. It is designed to be taught for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week to a small group of one to six students. The first half of the program is targeted for kindergarten students. For first grade students work can start at week 21. However, individual abilities and needs will determine the best starting point. By using reading assessment tools, when available, the teacher can fine tune the best place to start.

Teachers may also use individual lessons to supplement curricula and, as needed, use the program for older students.

The program includes core activities, educator-contributed activities, teaching tips and resources for phonological awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and writing. [8] The site provides free, downloadable supplemental materials like flashcards, picture cards, phonics cards, word list generator, word family lists.

Uses in the Classroom edit

This research-based program has utilized decades of reading research with the goal of helping every child become a reader. The activities are broken into ten categories.

  1. Phonological Awareness – The process of learning to blend and segment the sounds in spoken words.
  2. Letter Sounds – The most common sounds for printed letters are presented.
  3. Letter Writing – Students learn the commonly accepted way to write letters.
  4. Sounding Out – Students learn how to produce and then blend the letter-sound patterns to read words.
  5. Word-Form Recognition – Sight words are learned (words that are recognized without having to sound them out).
  6. Irregular Words – High-frequency words such as “the” and “was” are taught.
  7. Reading Connected Text – Students presented with their first stories.
  8. Letter Combinations – The most common sounds for letter combinations are taught sh and oa)
  9. Irregular Words II – More high-frequency irregular words are learned to be read by sight.
  10. Advanced Phonics – Words with inflected endings, silent letter, and multiple syllables are taught.

Scope and Sequence of Phonological Awareness (First Five Days Of Lessons) edit

Each lesson is a three-part lesson: Warm-up, Introduce, and Build Accuracy

+0: Counting words in a sentence Introduce onset-rime blending (Mico version) fish, fire, foot, lamb, lips, lock, meat, mix, moon, nail, nut, fox

+1: Blending syllables name game Onset-rime blending accuracy (Mico version) foot, lamp, lime, meat, mop, nose, nine, run, ring, sun, van, zoo

+2: Counting words in a sentence Onset-rime blending accuracy (Mico version)lock, mix, nest, nut, rat, saw, socks, six, bird, bear, tire, dice

+3: Blending syllables name game Onset-rime blending accuracy (Mico version) zack, vine, watch, wave, bag, bed, king, key, pig, hand, frog, star

+4: Counting words in a sentence Onset-rime blending accuracy (Mico version) witch, wing, vet, vase, box, can, coat, door, gate, horse, girl, snail, truck

+5: Segmenting syllables name game Introduce onset-rime segmenting (Mico version) fish, fire, foot, lamb, lips, lock, meat, mix, moon, nail, nut, fox


Program resources edit

Available free of charge at the website are a number of high-quality program resources including:

  • Picture cards: Various sets and sizes of free downloadable picture cards
  • Sound pronunciation guides: Recordings in MP3 format of the recommended way to segment words into onset-rimes and phonemes
  • Most common sounds: The most common sounds for letters and letter combinations
  • Letter cards: Various sets and sizes of free, downloadable letter cards for letters and letter combinations
  • Regular and irregular words: An explanation of regular and irregular words
  • Letter formation guide: A teacher's guide to the proper formation of upper- and lowercase letters
  • Sounding out word cards: Free, downloadable index-card sized copies of all the words used in sounding out activities
  • Irregular word cards: Index-card sized printable copies of all the irregular words used in the Irregular Words and Irregular Words II activities
  • Decodable passages: Short passages constructed only from words that have been taught in the program or that students can sound out
  • Word List Generator: A searchable database of 2000+ words that you can print as index cards and use in helping students to learn word recognition skills
  • Advanced phonics word cards: Index-card sized printable copies of double-letter words, silent-letter words, compound words, contractions, and -ed words
  • Word families (phonograms): A list of all word families taught and links to printable lists of words in each family


Advantages of the Program edit

The open source model combined with a Web 2.0 platform gives FreeReading program users significant advantages over the traditional publishing model. "Instructional material can be regularly updated to reflect the collective wisdom of teachers and researchers, can be produced and distributed inexpensively, significantly reducing or, in the case of, completely eliminating the prices that schools pay for such programs." [10] Additionally, the program is continually field tested and is constantly updated. This allows for districts to better use the money saved from the cost of traditional textbooks which schools nationally tend to spend almost 7 to 8 billion dollars per year. [11]

Are There User Guides and/or Video Tutorials for FreeReading? edit

While a comprehensive user guide for FreeReading is not yet available, you can watch FreeReading video tutorials here:

There are also several YouTube videos that may be of interest because they show several of the program's lessons in action, such as: team word builder game and counting words in a sentence can be viewed on YouTube.

What The Program Does NOT Cover edit

The FreeReading program does not include oral language, conceptual understanding, content knowledge, or affect and motivation to read.[12]

Who Created FreeReading? edit

“FreeReading was originally created by a team of reading product developers at Wireless Generation with the help of teachers throughout the United States. A leader in educational assessment, reporting, and professional development, Wireless Generation offers commonly used early reading and math assessments on our mCLASS® platform, including TPRI®, DIBELS®, IDEL™, Reading 3D™, CIRCLE™, Math, the School Enhancement Engine™ (SEE), and Tejas LEE®."


Who Can Use and/or Edit edit

Even though this program is open source, the core activities are research based and locked so that they may not be edited. Teachers are encouraged to contribute other content to the website. [13]

Advisory Board edit

There is an advisory board; however, since FreeReading is an open-source program, it is always being refined, expanded, and improved by everyone. The Board's main job is to insure that the research and development of FreeReading continues. The board is currently made up of Catherine Snow from the Havard Graduate School of Education, Michael Kamil from Stanford University, Barbara Taylor from the University of Minnesota, Barbara Kapinus a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Education Association, and Fred Carrigg the Director of Humanities K-12 at Middletown Public School. [14]

FreeReading and the Open Educational Movement edit

FreeReading is part of the Open Educational Movement that was started by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and Richard Baraniuk of Rice University. The goal of OEM is to "represent a natural and inevitable evolution of the educational publishing industry in a way that parallels the evolution of the software industry, the music industry, and the scholarly publishing industry and to provide children with learning materials tailored to their individual needs." [15]

Free Reading’s Partners edit

Wireless Generation

Minnesota Center for Reading Research at the University of Minnesota

Primary Concepts

References edit

  1. (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2010 from
  2. (2009). Retrieved from
  3. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  4. (2009). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  5. (2011). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  6. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  7. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  8. FreeReading (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2010 from
  9. Freereading (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2010 from
  10. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  11. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  12. FreeReading (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2010 from
  13. Free (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2010 from
  14. (2011). Retrieved February 28,2011 from
  15. (2008). Retrieved February 28,2011 from