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Pros: Easy-to-understand symbols and voice options maximize accessibility.
Cons: Organization and navigation could be better. Articles lack some critical thinking.
Bottom Line: This a pricey tool but it's packed with a school year's worth of content and handy accessibility features.
Students can read the News2you stories alone, with their own unique voice options, reading preferences, and literacy level. Or teachers can read (and project) the stories 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. There are lots of teacher supports, including detailed lesson plans, learning extension packages, and offline assessment tools.
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.
News2you is a newspaper for students with autism and other disabilities that's available on the web. News2you incorporates the symbol system SymbolStix (also used in Proloquo2Go), along with 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, and 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. An annual license costs $239.99. With that license, teachers can download, print, and distribute copies of content. Free trials are available by request.
The first page of each edition 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 News2you for each student, changing the voice to male or female, making it slower, faster, higher, or deeper. There are four reading levels from Simplified to Advanced, plus a text-only option.
News2you is one program of many from the same developer that offers a variety of teaching tools and learning supports for students with disabilities.
News2you is a remarkable way to help students who receive disability support services expand their literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved in the topics with discussion questions and activities. Along with Proloquo2Go, it forms a powerhouse combo that can help all students develop comprehension skills and express themselves.
Social studies, current events, and other newsy tidbits are brought to life for beginning readers and students with disabilities. The symbols-based and voice-supported articles allow you to make adjustments 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. News2you may seem pricey, but its content is substantial, current, and fun. This one-of-a-kind, accessible, useful resource may also be helpful for kids who don't normally like reading.
The navigation is a little wonky, and it would be nice to see a bit more higher-order thinking incorporated, but overall this is a great foundation for introducing news-based conversations to students with disabilities or those just needing some extra scaffolding and support.