Newsela is an education technology startup dedicated to transforming the way learners access the world through words. The founding team members combine powerful technological know-how with real-world experience earned in the classroom, the newsroom, and the boardroom.
Launched in June 2013, Newsela publishes high-interest news articles daily at five levels of complexity for grades 3-12 using Newsela’s proprietary, rapid text-leveling process. Common Core–aligned quizzes attached to articles give educators and parents insight into their students’ reading strengths and weaknesses. Newsela develops nonfiction fluency and critical-thinking skills necessary to master the Common Core standards for informational text.
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This platform has a lot of potential. The real-world information combined with the ability to provide customized and differentiated learning experiences for students is very attractive. However, at present, the offering falls short of its promise in several respects. First, the writing technique leaves something to be desired. Ambiguity and poor writing abound in the articles, making the comprehension tests based on this material undiagnostic at best. Second, there are some outright inaccuracies in what is considered a right/wrong answer, which will confuse students and cause frustration in addition to creating a miss on the learning front. Overall, this seems like a nice adjunct to a live teacher, but the beta phase might have benefited from closer scrutiny and further development. This is too important a time in kids’ education and too delicate a transition to common core for a major part of the curriculum to be managed by a flawed software program. Nice ideas, poor execution.
This is a great resource for getting informational text as well as give the student readings in some current events that they may understand. At this site, there are numerous news articles from different subjects such as science, art, health, money, law, etc. Each article also has the capability to change the reading level. This can come in handy when reading about a specific topic and being able to have a variety of the same content at different reading levels.
I do professional development with teachers and will be highly recommending Newsela as a resource for informational text. There’s a lot to like about this from an instructional point of view as well as in terms of teacher management tools. Instructionally, this gives students access to information text from reputable news sources such as AP and Reuters but each article has been rewritten as varied Lexile levels. Teachers can create classes and have students enroll using a class code. Once enrolled, the teacher can assign articles, view the results of quizzes taken and see when students completed the reading. I would highly recommend this!