Newsela is fantastic for informational text reading and finding details to support main idea.
The range of topics and information is exceptional. It can be a beneficial teaching tool if you tailor its use to your students. We found that many of our students cheated on the quiz by getting answers from others or opening a private account in addition to their school account to get answers. By creating our own assignment and expectations, we got a much better idea of what students were learning and what they were not.
How I Use It
I wanted my students to get more experience reading informational text. The thing I really like about Newsela is that students can pick the lexile level. This helps them to understand the text they are reading. The articles are engaging, but the quizzes were problematic. Many parents and students complained that the quiz answers were subjective. After taking a few quizzes myself and answering questions incorrectly, I decided that the quiz scores weren't a true measure of student learning. My team stopped using the quizzes as a grade and wrote up our own worksheet that students had to fill out. We had them identify the main idea of the article and then find supporting details. It was surprising to me how difficult this was for students and gave me insight into what instruction they needed.