Newsela is a FREE website that you can use as a resource for current events. Texts are available at various Lexile levels with interactive quizzes. When you sign up, you have the option of creating logins and passwords for your students. If they are older, you can give them a password to use to help them find the correct class.
After teachers sign up and create rosters, they can assign specific articles to their students. Students can also search for relevant or interesting articles on their own.
The students can select from a range of 2-3 Lexile levels to find the appropriate reading level for themselves. The quizzes, aligned to Common Core State Standards, are also adjusted to the reading level selected. You can track how your students are doing on various skills within the CCSS.
Students can practice from any computer that has Internet availability. They go to www.newsela.com and log in with their user name and password.
Another tool within the computer based article is the ability to highlight text to demonstrate where the student found their answer. All they have to do is hover the mouse over the text, and four colored squares appear to the right. They click on the color they’d like to use, and then can highlight their evidence.
In addition, these articles can be printed and handed out to students.
TIP: I recommend cutting and pasting the text into a word document; there are pictures for suggested articles that are printed up at the end that may not be the best use of resources. Printing from the website also has no marginal space and it is difficult to annotate if you are looking to use it for close reading.
Alignment to CCSS
I think about the potential of using these texts within the classroom for Anchor Standard 1 for CCSS:
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Classroom Use and Tips
I decided that I would use two levels of text for my 5th grade Language Arts pull out class. First, I would start at a lower level to have students understand the main ideas and find supporting evidence within the text. I would do three readings of the lower level text. The first day would entail a reading/preview of the text, highlighting the most important vocabulary and ideas.
Day 1: Preview the questions
Day 2: Go back and dig a little deeper, perhaps looking at author’s craft and making connections in the story.
Day 3-6: Reread the article, using the richer vocabulary and information to increase the rigor of the questions. Please see the attached sample article I put together for my class. There is also a sample lesson plan and other instructional ideas provided by the developers of the website.
So…I challenge you- how do you see yourself using Newsela in your classroom?
A shout out to Sue Stone and Ron Carroll for sharing!