How I Use It
My use of Newsela was prior to the introduction of PRO (paid) subscription. I shared this site with my 6th grade Media Literacy classes. We were exploring how news is presented to different audiences and different media formats. I did not assign specific articles, instead encouraged students to explore for topics that appealed to them. We compared the treatment of topics on Newsela and other popular news sites. Students were able to easily navigate the site, browsing or searching for desired content. Students found the level of detail in articles just right for their interest in most topics. The quiz questions change depending on the selected reading level; however not all articles have quizzes.
I like the fact that students have easy access to a news site that is ad free, void of a comments section, and has the option to tailor reading level. Too often a great article will appear on a general news site, but is unsharable in its original format due to the inappropriate language and content of the visitor comments. On the flip side, it would be nice for students to have an opportunity to practice leaving and interacting with thoughtful, intelligent, and appropriate comments (similar to DogoNews).
The content covers a wide variety of topics, meeting the needs of both classroom curriculum and student interest. New articles are added on a regular basis, making it possible to use Newsela as part of a regularly occurring assignment.
Visitors may view up to 5 stories before the site requires login. Basic accounts are free to both teacher and student. Google Apps for Education schools will appreciate the ability to "Sign in with Google", facilitating the login process. New PRO accounts are required for most classroom management and monitoring features.