Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Newsela



Newsela is a free reading resource with text levels appropriate for grades three on up. (First or second grade teachers needing some challenging materials may find it helpful as well.) It provides various news articles pertaining to our world today that the teachers can assign directly to the students.

Once teachers create an account, they may want to plan out how they are going to allow students to access the content. Students could access Newsela for the sheer enjoyment of reading the articles. The students wouldn't need to take quizzes or have content tailored specifically to their needs. In this case, the teacher would need to create only one class for their students.

Teachers can also create classes to which they may assign articles. If a teacher would like to differentiate according to reading level, he/she may want to create several classes and essentially treat them as reading groups. This is a great way to meet science and social studies standards as the content is essentially the same, but at a different complexity as teachers can select a range of reading levels for each article. Many of the articles also include quizzes and the quizzes are tailored according to the reading level they are assigned. Once the teacher creates the classes, they will need to distribute the codes according to the students that should receive it.

To get students rolling in Newsela, they will need an account. Newsela was kind enough to provide directions on how students can create their accounts. This can be found in the settings of the teacher account:

Since many of the articles pertain to current events, not all articles will be completely appropriate for third grade students to read due to the content (I mentioned that they are reading level appropriate, not necessarily content appropriate.) This can be handled a couple ways depending upon the comfort level of the teacher:
  1. Train students to select school/age appropriate articles based upon the picture and title of the article.
  2. Only allow students to use Newsela with their account and read articles that you have assigned to them. 
I highly recommend you try it for yourself as it is an easy to use free resource. There is also a pro version that provides more control and data collection on student activity if you are interested that or need data.