Teacher Review For Newsela

Newsela is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that's always relevant.

Robert L.
Classroom teacher
Spring Hill Junior High School
Akron, OH
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My Grades 7, 8
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 5
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Individual
Knowledge gain
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
Newsela is a website that posts a variety of articles at five different reading levels. This means each article can be read by students with a range of reading abilities. It is the same article, but the vocabulary changes to increase or decrease the reading level. Some of the articles have short quizzes to check for student understanding. These quizzes have the Common Core standard associated with the question listed. The Pro version, which requires a subscription, allows teachers to create classes, assign articles and track progress. I used Newsela this spring semester to bring literacy practice into my technology classroom. (During the spring Newsela Pro was a beta version and free to try. It is no longer free.) In Newsela I created classes and then used the class code to allow students to enroll. It was quick and easy for students to set up accounts with their Google accounts. Once the students joined the class they could see the articles I assigned. I could assign articles to each class. I could track which students read and their success on the quizzes. (Again, this is part of the Pro subscription.) These assignments were to be completed when the other work and projects were finished. I required students to achieve a 100% on the quizzes. If this was not achieved, students dropped the reading level, read the article again and completed the quiz at the lower level. Newsela was a great way for me to add some literacy practice into my technology classroom. It didn't take tons of my time, and I enjoyed searching for and reading articles to assign to the students.
My Take
I loved using Newsela this spring. With a variety of reading abilities in my classes, students could read the same article that was at their own level. This was a great way to differentiate. I liked having the Pro subscription to track which students completed the assignments and which still had not. I could also see which students took the quizzes and earned low scores because they had not read the article. In my opinion, the free subscription is quite limiting. Sure the students can create accounts, read articles and take quizzes, but there is no way for the teacher to track student achievement. There are no prices on the website for the Pro subscription. You have to be contacted. I have asked my district to find a way to get the Pro for next year. In a classroom like computer technology, it is sometimes difficult to find meaningful work for students who complete assignments and project quickly. Newsela allowed me to have meaningful work that is aligned to the Common Core ELA standards. I will be using Newsela again next year!