Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Newsela - Nonfiction Leveled Readings

Newsela is a great resource for any classroom.  It is a site that has a collection of nonfiction articles and stories, including current events articles, that allow you to select the reading level you need to understand the text.  There are usually 5 levels available for students so they can select the level that best suites them, or work on a level that is within their zone of proximal development so that they can continue to learn and improve.  There is even a feature, not available for all articles but for many, that gives you a chance to take a quiz that will assess how well you understood the article.  

Newsela is free, although there are some paid options, and allows you to easily create teacher and student accounts using your Google Apps log-in.  The Pro account gives you more of the LMS features that many would like but that are not needed for most applications of this tool.  In the free account you can assign articles to students and they can take the quizzes after certain articles, however the teacher will not be able to see their results.  

Newsela provides some great supports for teachers, including a handy sheet telling you how to easily get students registeredand a quick start guide for teachers for the overall process of using it.  Newsela is used by a good amount of teachers at our school and they have the following to say about it;
  • It is nice to use to read to the class for Read Alouds, but it is also nice to give to kid at different lexile levels.  That way they can all read the same article, but with varying degrees of difficulty.
  • I created an account and had freshman look through, find a story, read it, then summarize it and give their opinion on it. It was really nice because they could chose their lexile for the passage and as they were reading if it was too hard they could decrease the lexile until they understood it. And it is relevant information on all subjects. It did a better job at giving students access to non-fiction articles at their reading level then I ever could do on my own.
  • I use it every week for my AI students. Sometimes I keep the lexile high for a Think Aloud, but other times I lower it based on their individual lexile range. It's great!
Watch the video below to get started.