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Introducing the Cascade Passage Library

by Dr. Jack Dempsey, Director of Research


Our mission at Cascade Reading is to reach as many students as possible to help mitigate the ever-growing reading comprehension crisis. To do this, we have teamed up with several schools and universities to conduct rigorous research and develop our tools in ways that are sensitive to the needs of teachers and students. We have also made our tools flexible in the types of texts they can cascade, from text copied and pasted into the Cascade Reader or Explorer to web pages of text that can be automatically Cascaded using the Cascade Chrome Extension. Still, the burden shouldn’t be on teachers to find Cascaded texts when they are looking for examples to examine themselves or, perhaps more importantly, share with their students.

We offer several books that are cascaded, which can be found on our website; however, those books are not particularly targeted toward an adolescent audience. To address this gap in resources, we have developed a new passage library, offering 81 unique passage sets each with 7 different grade levels. These passages can be used for a variety of classroom activities and offer teachers a powerful new way of sharing the Cascade format with their students.

Check out the Cascade Library!

How to Use the Passages Library

1.Our passages were designed to supplement various CKLA units for 4th and 5th graders, although they can certainly be used for all grades depending on the needs of your students. Although there are only five unique units covered so far, we plan on adding an additional eight units this Summer, so stay tuned!
2. When you click on a unit, like 4th grade “The Middle Ages,” you’ll see the available topics listed in alphabetical order. For each passage, there are seven different “grade levels” that vary in complexity. For instance, if your student is reading at a seventh grade reading level, they likely would not be sufficiently challenged when reading the fourth grade level. If you’re curious about how each of these passages differ or just want more information like word count, vocabulary complexity, and other metrics, we also offer downloadable statistics for each passage set.
3. Clicking on one of the grade levels then opens up the actual passage, already Cascaded for you. Although students cannot access the passage library itself unless they have an account with, the links to the actual passages themselves can be shared directly with students via any LMS. This system is set up to prevent students from changing the grade level of the passages, ensuring teachers know what their students are reading.
The passages are an average of about 500 words, and they have been designed to increase student knowledge in these topics as they become stronger readers. Although not yet available, assessment questions will also be offered this Summer once the additional topics are added, meaning that you’ll be able to test your students’ comprehension of the passage as well. The goal of our passage library is to help students benefit from the Cascade Format in a non-intrusive way that can fit in seamlessly with the CKLA curriculum, although it’s not limited to that! As we develop this offering further, we care about addressing the needs of students and teachers, so please feel free to email suggestions, questions, or comments to!
Cascade Reading

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