Building reading comprehension

Building Reading Comprehension in 5th Grade.

The challenge wasn’t easy… 

Lindsey Barlow, 5th Grade Reading & Social Studies teacher from Polk County Public Schools in Florida, like most teachers, found herself struggling with students who were skimming through reading course material without closely reading and comprehending. With the Florida State Assessment quickly approaching (FSA), Lindsey needed a program that would spark students’ interest, boost outcomes quickly, and encourage students to read closely.

Then she found Read to Lead… 

She came across Read to Lead on Facebook and thought the learning games and supplemental curricula could help because students wouldn’t be able to skim – they would have to actually read closely, think critically, and make complex decisions throughout the game. Lindsey started implementing Read to Lead into her Intervention and Reading blocks for about 30 minutes each day. When time allowed, she would also use the discussion prompts, debate questions, and wrap-around content provided on the platform to deepen the learning. 

Students’ interest in reading climbed the charts.

 “Students were reading so closely that after playing a game, they would ask each other what decisions they made and why – really rationalizing their choices,” Linsey shared. The students were so motivated by Read to Lead’s Million Words Read Challenge – that they would actually move ahead of the games that Lindsey would assign and would play on their own time. 

“The most surprising element of the game was that the real-world application (being in a virtual work-place setting) really helped with their vocabulary development. Even for my gifted students.”

Essay Writing


The essay writing, highlighting, and having to summarize their learning, also helped keep students engaged throughout the game and prepare for the Florida State Assessment.




“For me, being able to see students’ progress in real-time was essential. It was also helpful that you could click on the skill and it would take you to the Standard the students were working on and how it aligns.”

Lindsey had two classes both read over 1 million words together over the course of the school year and joined the Read to Lead Millionaires Club. They will receive student prize packs in the mail along with a gift card to host a class celebration hosted by Read to Lead’s generous donors. Thank you Lindsey for your commitment to help your students build their reading comprehension and confidence, we’re inspired by your classes!


About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!