Newsela is primarily an online news site that provides access to high-quality news articles, each of which is written at five different reading levels. The original article is presented as the highest Lexile level.
Newsela has integrated features that allow assessments by teachers. As users read a story, they can annotate the content for deeper engagement with the material to develop understanding. They can also take a four questions quiz after reading the article to check for understanding. Teachers may also assign a writing prompt to students. Students store their assessments into binders, where they can later review their work. Teachers can see class data in aggregate with the free features, and have to upgrade to Pro for individual student information.
Newsela organises news articles into different categories, including Science Law, Math, Arts. The news are curated from sources such as Associated Press, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Atlas Obscura, AlJazeera and others. Many of the news stories have been translated into Spanish as well. Although news is the primary resource on Newsela, there is also a library that includes primary sources, biographies, famous speeches, myths and legends, etc. Newsela also organises content into text sets which curates material from the website around a particular central topic or theme. Teachers can use existing text sets or curate their own text sets. Teachers can also access and used “paired texts” which are made up of two articles on a theme or topic. The writing prompt for paired texts requires students to use evidence from both texts.
Teachers set up students into classes in Newsela and select a reading level for each student. The system is responsive and adjusts a student’s level after 8-10 quizzes.
Why use Newsela
Use Newsela to help students build background knowledge and vocabulary around a topic, and knowledge of current events. Provide differentiation in the classroom by letting students high-quality documents at their individual reading level, so that they can access the same content at a level appropriate to their individual progress.
How to Use Newsela in the Classroom
- use articles and texts for students to develop background information
- provide examples of concepts from the real-world
- expose students to the real-world vocabulary around an issue
- access additional information or context on a subject
- use the five w’s or other frameworks to help children learning about their world
- find articles that spark iTime explorations
- explore the pros and cons of a controversial issue through news and articles
- read articles related to personal interest
- persuasive and opinion writing
- comparing and contrasting
- reading and comprehension
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