7 Tips That Will Help You Effectively Implement iReady

Don’t you just hate it when you finally get the hang of a reading or math program and your district (or admin) decide it’s time to start using something new. I mean you’d think they’d know better than to mess with a teacher’s software…


When that happened at my school, we were told to “trust the process”… The only problem is that while the process is going on, we’re in the trenches having to figure out how to make it work.


It took me a while to get the hang of iReady, but I can FINALLY say that I have figured out a system that’s been working for me and my kiddos!


So, if you’re feeling frustrated with iReady just know that YOU-ARE-NOT ALONE! Hopefully, by the end of this post you’ll have a few new ideas to add to your bag of tricks.


For any program to be effective, parents have to buy in to what you’re doing.

They need to understand that iReady is tailor made for their child… It’s like free tutoring! If you show them where their child is at, compared to where they’re supposed to be, I’ve found that many of them have ah-ha moments… and some even OH NOOOOO moments! THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT!!!!


So, here’s what you gotta do… once your students take the Diagnostic/ placement test, print individual Student Profiles. This report is easy enough for parents to understand and will allow them to see their child’s strengths and weaknesses. Follow these steps. They’re pretty simple…



After you’ve printed the report and reviewed it, schedule individual parent meetings. Begin by focusing on the “overall performance” section. Explain the green “On Level” area. (This is where their child should be) Next, explain their strengths (where they’ve Tested Out) and weaknesses (their lowest performing domain). This report makes it all pretty clear!


 The next step is to set up student folders.

You’ll need a folder for each student,  self adhesive fasteners, printed iReady labels, and a copy of the iReady student recording sheet you see on the right.


The last thing you’ll need is to print out your students’ individual assignments. I’ll be honest, this does take a little time, but once you get the hang of it it’s not so bad.


Here are some pictures to walk you through it…


You’ll want to take a screenshot of this page so that you can include it in your child’s folder. What’s so great about this report is that it shows you the sequence of the lessons, its level, and the estimated time to complete the lesson. Parents and students both love that they can tell how long their lessons are going to be!


When you meet with your students to plan assignments for the week, seeing the estimated time will help you determine how many lessons to assign. Also, when you see those lengthy reading passages, warn your little nuggets and let them know to break it up over a period of a few days. Without this form your parents and students are left guessing how long each assignment is going to take, and that’s NOT.GOOD.AT.ALL


Updated: According to iReady, students performing on level should receive 45 min. of instruction weekly, those 1 year below 60 min., and anyone more than a year behind 75 min. per week.



Now you’re ready to assemble your folders… Here’s what they should look like on the inside.


On the Diagnostic Scores form, record the date of testing, the students score on the reading and math assessment, and make a line to mark where they fall on the bar graph. (You can see the dark green line in the picture above) DO NOT SHADE IT IN! When you meet with students, have them shade in their own graphs. This helps them take ownership over their work and progress!


Mid year, when they take the diagnostic test for the second time, print out the new assignments on colored paper so you can tell the difference. Then record the date of test, score, and have students once again shade in their graph. This is the moment of truth! Where they can see how much all their hard work has payed off.

It’s time to get the kids to buy-in.

Now that your parents are on board and your folders are ready to go, it’s time to start working on your kiddos and getting them to buy-in to the process. Next to your parents, student involvement is key!!!


Begin by discussing the results of the diagnostic, making sure to point out the on level area and their performance. It’s important to be encouraging and positive! It’s your time to put on your cheerleading hat and root for your children. If they are working way below grade level, it’s time to get R.E.A.L. Don’t sugar coat it!Let them know that they are behind and in order to catch up they are going to have to work hard.


But it’s okay because you believe in them and you’re going to work together to make it happen. Help them understand that in order to improve, they have to stay focused and pass their lessons. Finally, come up with a realistic goal for the next diagnostic test.


Teach students how to check and track their own progress.

Many students and parents really don’t have a clue how to do this and it’s a shame. It’s so easy to do, but unless you show them your kiddos are not going to look. Trust me… I speak from experience #sadtruth. This is part of the reason I have them record their progress in their folders.




Make sure to explain that a green bar is good! If the bar is red it means that the student did not pass the lesson and i-Ready will give them a second chance. The next lesson they will be given, will be a repeat of the same lesson they failed. It’s important to make this clear to your students and parents, otherwise you might receive a few letters from parents telling you that there’s something wrong with i-Ready because their child “keeps getting the same lesson”.


Nope… nothing wrong, your child just needs to make sure he’s focused throughout the lesson so that he receives a passing score 

If students are distracted, have them take notes in a notebook.

When my students first began iReady, I found that many of them were racing through lessons and performing poorly. Not because the material was too hard, but because they weren’t paying attention. So in an effort to keep them focused and accountable, I encouraged them to take notes during the tutorial.


This was very helpful especially, for the vocabulary lessons. I even told the kids that they could use their notes for the quizzes at the end of each lesson. (Since they’re usually not allowed to use notes for quizzes, they thought this was the best thing ever!) #teacherwin #freemotivation


If you want students to do the work, you need to monitor them.

If you want your students to complete their iReady lessons, then you have to check their progress on a weekly basis and give them some sort of feedback. Otherwise, they’re going to think that you don’t even care and they’ll stop trying altogether… Can you blame them? To avoid this problem, I have weekly check-ins with my kiddos. It’s quick, pretty painless, and keeps them accountable…

On Mondays when they arrive to class and are busy copying homework I call on 5 students to log on to their iReady home screen. One by one, I go down the line checking their progress from the previous week. I congratulate those that have completed all their assignments and achieved passing scores (green bars)! I even have a bulleting board where they get a sticker for each lesson passed.


For students that fail any of their lessons, I use this opportunity to ask them what happened?  Was it lack of focus, effort, or both? I then remind them of their goal and ask them what they’re going to do differently this week? The time that you spend talking with your students is crucial! It lets them know that you care, that you’re going to be keeping an eye on them, and gives them a reminder that in order for them to improve they’re going to have to put in the time.


After our little chat, I highlight student assignments for the coming week. For students that are on grade level, I highlight lessons equaling about 45 minutes. The exception is when they have a Close Reading passage that tends to be about 70-80 minutes long. When this happens, I only highlight the Close Reading for the week and warn them that it’s going to be a doozy so NOT to complete it in one sitting. (My kiddos really hate these passages to be honest!)


Ever since I’ve started these weekly check-ins with my students, I feel that they have been working harder to please me and get those green bars on their progress. Kids like to be rewarded and praised… they like to know you care! I’ve even noticed an improvement in my strugglers. I also think that because I give them a heads up about longer lessons, they’re better prepared.

Motivate and reward your students for their hard work and effort.

I LOVE to see my students succeed! So if it’s going to take bribery incentives to get them motivated and working hard, then I’m going to do it…
This year I’ve decided to use a bulletin board titled “Reading Takes Us Places” to keep track of their assignments. It’s not too complicated, easy to track, and doesn’t involve a great financial investment on my part. It also goes with our traveling theme.


Every student is represented with a car hot glued on a push pin. Basically, as students complete their weekly iReady lessons they travel around various stops across the US. (This ties into our Social Studies lessons on the 5 Regions) They receive an incentive on every other stop. Some incentives are as easy as a sticker, a special pencil, a no homework pass, a cookie, a snack, computer time, lunch with me, etc… They never know what it’s going to be so that in itself motivates them… Sometimes they even help me decide what the treats for the week should be.

I hope, you’re leaving here today with a few new tips!

Do you use any of these tips or strategies? What do you do to make sure your students are using iReady effectively?  Let me know in the comments below.
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  • Reply
    Susan Fletcher
    December 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    We are implementing iReady for the first time this year. This article is SO helpful! I have forwarded to my principal and assistant principal. Thank YOU so much!!! I love the labels!
    Susan in NC

    • Reply
      December 1, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      I’m so glad you found my article helpful! You’ve totally made my day. When we first started out with i-Ready I was overwhelmed and frustrated. Didn’t know where to start or what report to look at. I’m so glad that I was able to help out and hopefully give you a few ideas to start off with.
      ;0) Melissa

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks so much for your article. I found your ideas very helpful because iReady has been such a challenge for me to implement effectively. Do you have an editable copy of the iReady Student Recording Sheet? I teach another grade level and thought I’d ask before trying to create my own : ) I love the idea of the kids seeing and tracking their progress.

    • Reply
      September 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Howdy, Paula! I totally get it and understand how difficult it is sometimes to monitor and track your kid’s iReady use. Trust me, it took me some time before I was finally able to figure out something that worked. I’m so glad that you were able to get a few ideas from my post. Also, I totally don’t mind sharing a copy of the student recording sheet. Just email me at moretime2teach@gmail.com and I’ll get that right out to you.
      :0) Melissa

  • Reply
    Brynn Skaggs
    November 8, 2017 at 7:47 am

    This is excellent! I’m finding that I need a way to keep my students accountable and I’d love to implement this. Do you have to go into iReady and assign the lessons shown on their lesson plan? I printed a lesson plan for one of my students and I wasn’t sure how they were supposed to access the specific lessons picked on their plan. I appreciate any guidance you can give me. Thanks again!

    • Reply
      November 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Howdy Brynn :0)
      I’m so happy you found my post so helpful… Once your students take the diagnostic test, the lessons are automatically assigned based on the student’s areas of need. So don’t freak out when you see that your students all have different lessons, lol! Then when they log in, they will have to select either Reading and Math. Once on the reading page, it’s as easy as clicking on the green square in the middle of the page. The lessons are automatically cued for the students. Pretty simple, huh! That’s why I love it so much. Now, if a student fails a lesson they will have to retake it. You don’t have to do anything because i-Ready will automatically assign it. Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

    This is such good information! We have conferences coming up…and they are very short (15 mins). What do you feel is the best report/graph/info to share with parents at this point in the year? *Ready and iready are new to us this year! 🙂 Thank you! (I have third graders.)

    • Reply
      November 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Hello HJ-
      I also teach 3rd grade and I love the Student Profile Report for parent conferences. It’s pretty simple to understand and has a great visual that shows parents where their child is with regards to being On Level. The report is fairly detailed and shows parents where their child’s strengths and weaknesses are which also comes in handy for guided reading groups or for tutors. I usually only print page 1 and 2 for my parents and have it present during our conferences. Also, I usually review what the levels stand for since their going to be seeing it in the child’s i-Ready folders. This allows parents to follow their child’s progress. Overall, my parents have had positive feedback about this report. It’s pretty easy to understand and has a lot of useful information.
      Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    I was so excited to see this since we just started iReady this year!!! We are about to take our mid year benchmark so this will be great to start implementing!

    • Reply
      December 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Crystal-
      It’s funny you should mention the mid-year benchmark because I just started testing my students today! We finish on Monday and the kids are so excited to check their progress in their i-Ready folders. Yes, now’s definitely a good time to start implementing some form of monitoring system. Let me know if you have any questions along the way!
      Good luck!

      • Reply
        Crystal J Hall
        December 4, 2017 at 7:06 am

        Thank you very much will definitely keep you posted!

      • Reply
        December 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm

        I was working on filling out the sheet and I noticed there was a spot in the top corner for a target score. How do you determine the target score for your students>

        • Reply
          December 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm

          I use a chart created by i-Ready that is called “Using i-Ready Diagnostic as a Student Growth Measure 2017”. The tables help you determine how much scale score growth your students should achieve. For example, the growth 3rd graders should demonstrate in reading if you are looking for 1 years worth of growth is between 30-44 points. If you’d like, just email me at moretime2teach@gmail.com and I’d be happy to forward you a copy of the table 😃

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