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Readtopia is an online special education curriculum that teaches phonics and early reading to students in elementary, middle, and high school with complex learning barriers.

A tablet shows the cover of Readtopia's "Ancient Egypt/Roman Empire Anchored by Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile" with images of King Tut and the pyramids. On either side of the tablet two pages with lesson activities from the thematic unit can be seen.

The Only Special Education
Reading Curriculum You Need



Readtopia features online educational materials that guide your instructional time throughout the day across multiple subjects.



With Readtopia, you can enhance learning for the widest range of student needs, from non-readers to beginning readers.



Readtopia presents
instruction in thematic units to help you fully reach students
with all kinds of abilities,
backgrounds, and knowledge.

Readtopia Features

An open laptop screen displays the Readtopia Thematic Units webpage.
Integrated Lessons

Comprehensive reading
curriculum across English
Language Arts, Science, Life
Skills, Social Studies, and Math.

Differentiated Curriculum

Multiple levels of graphic novels
and informational text, supported
by authentic literature, phonics,
videos, and photos.

Thematic Units

A library of 28 thematic units
and growing, including “The
 Earth’s Oceans” and “Age of

Classroom Support Tools

tools to monitor student
progress, allowing easy
instructional adjustments.

Built-in Assessment

Tools that make it easy to
collect and compare student
responses to instruction in
every thematic unit.

eLearning Support

Thematic units
designed to be
delivered in-person or
via distance learning.

Comprehensive Guidance

Complete and clear
instructions for teachers
and tip sheets for classroom
aids and paras ensure
educators have the resources
to fully engage students.

Experiential Learning

Videos captured by
the Readtopia team
in every thematic unit
to build background
knowledge, new vocabulary,
and visualize new concepts.

Functional Life Skills

Links to functional life
skills in every thematic unit:
Daily Living Skills,
Interpersonal Skills,
and Employment Skills.

What Readtopia Educators Say

Case Study:

Readtopia Restores Balance
in a Teacher’s Classroom and Life

Plain dark colored book with white Building Wings logo above title that reads, "Case Study: Readtopia Restores Balance in a Teacher's Classroom and Life".

Meet The Authors

Readtopia was developed in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of specialists, 
including Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. Caroline Musselwhite.

Headshot of Karen Erickson wearing a red shirt, with a purple scarf

Karen Erickson


Karen Erickson is the director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, where she is focused on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities.

Dr. Erickson is the co-author of “Comprehensive Literacy for All—Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write,” which outlines evidence-based instructional strategies that inform Readtopia.

Headshot of Caroline Musselwhite wearing a purple shirt

Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite


Dr. Caroline Musselwhite is an assistive technology specialist with more than 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents with significant disabilities.

She has taught courses at several universities, authored a number of books on educational topics, and presented thousands of workshops throughout the world. She is also a founding member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).

Readtopia Pricing

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Free Curriculum


Get free access
to samples of
Readtopia materials
and try them with your
students—no credit
card required.

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(per educator)

If you’d like to bring
Readtopia into your home,
call us at 800-999-4660
for a discounted license.

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School District or Organization


Discounts are
available for
districts/facilities with
multiple licenses or who
select multi-year options.


Readtopia supports students in late elementary, middle, high school, and transition. Upper elementary thematic units were released at the end of the 2019-2020 school year and additional units are in an ongoing development process.

The literature books include modified MAZE assessments after every third chapter. The modified MAZE assessment provides important insight into each student’s literature comprehension. MAZE, a well-accepted approach to progress monitoring, is particularly important in Readtopia because it is accessible to a wide range of students, including those who cannot read orally or whose speech is difficult to understand.
Vocabulary quizzes allow teachers to assess whether or not students are learning the content vocabulary taught in each unit.
Reading comprehension and close reading lessons include tasks that give teachers a daily snapshot of student performance and the gains they are making.

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


Author Profile:,Ph.D.

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