Common Sense Review
Updated September 2016


Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • Symbols transform current events and interesting topics into kid-friendly news.
  • Activities that accompany each issue include themed recipes, jokes, games, and more.
  • Jokes with symbols stretch students to think differently about meanings and to laugh.
  • Many settings help customize the experience for each user.
  • Different reading levels vary in amount and complexity of text.
Easy-to-understand symbols and voice options maximize accessibility.
Some article content, such as that about recent movies, has a limited shelf life.
Bottom Line
Students can expand literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved with discussion questions and activities.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

The symbols system (the same one used in the augmentative and alternative communication app Proloquo2Go) helps make learning about news fun for most kids.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

As students complete the extension activities and answer discussion questions, they gain cultural awareness and deepen their understanding of each kid-friendly topic. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Great extension activities and customizable voice settings help students learn at their own pace, in their own way. The app succeeds in making news accessible and enjoyable for students with learning differences.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Students can read the News-2-You stories alone, with their own unique voice, reading preferences, and literacy level set to their individual user account. Or teachers can read them to the entire class, repeating words, phrases, or main ideas that may be new or difficult. Discuss the articles together afterward, or allow students to work through the supplemental materials such as jokes and questions individually, according to what interests them.

The recipes can be a great idea for a classroom-wide activity, and the jokes (along with their symbolic explanations) can help spark discussions about double meanings in words and other quirks in the English language that may be difficult for some kids to conceptualize. Sudoku and other puzzles are also good individual, quiet-time classroom activities for students.

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What's It Like?

News-2-You is a symbols-based newspaper for special-needs students, and this app is its digital version. It includes the symbols system SymbolStix (also used in the augmentative and alternative communication app Proloquo2Go), along with audio voice narration. A new edition arrives in the online library for every week of the typical U.S. school year, and it covers popular current events topics such as movies, sports, holidays, or environmental issues, many of which are aligned with Common Core standards. In addition to the articles, you'll find recipes, jokes, games, puzzles, related comprehension questions, and more. Teachers can purchase some editions or a subscription and share them with some or all students, via multiple user accounts.

Once you've downloaded an edition to an iPad, the first page appears with a headline and an article in symbols and words. Tap the headline and see the words highlighted and underlined as they're spoken, or press the Play tab at the bottom of the screen, and the entire page plays automatically. Tap on the right arrow to move to the next page, and so on. A list icon connects users to all options in that edition. Tap on one, and the app flips to that page. Teachers can customize News-2-You for each student, changing the voice to male or female, slower, faster, higher, or deeper. There are also four reading levels from Simplified to Advanced.

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Is It Good For Learning?

News-2-You is a remarkable way to help kids with special needs expand literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved in the topics with discussion questions and activities. Along with Proloquo2Go, it's a powerhouse combo that can help all kids develop comprehension skills and express themselves. 

Social studies, current events, and other newsy tidbits are brought to life for beginning readers and students with special needs. The symbols-based and voice-supported articles allow you to adjust to fit a student's unique needs. Since most kids love categorizing and organizing, this symbol system provides structure and predictability to words and ideas presented in the news stories. News-2-You may seem pricey, but its content is substantial and fun. This one-of-a-kind, accessible, useful resource may also be helpful for kids who may not like reading about current events but love symbol systems.

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