Teacher Review for Newsela

Newsela is a great site to encourage students to challenge themselves as readers, but the paid version is expensive!

James D.
Educator/Curriculum Developer
IdeaDriven Education
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies, English-Language Learning
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Homework
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
I assign a group of pretty high interest news articles to my class. They log in and choose the articles that interest them. Once they choose an article, they can very easily adjust the reading level (harder, easier) based on lexile. Many of the articles come with comprehension quizzes. I don't always use these, but they can be a good baseline of basic comprehension skills. The most important aspect of the site for me is that it allows me to assign the same readings to students with vastly different reading levels. We can then have discussions around the same topic because they were able to make them accessible ON THEIR OWN. I often have students do writing assignments based on those articles as well. Sometimes the writing precedes the discussion.
My Take
Being able to adjust the reading level is a great option for students. Many of my students seek to challenge themselves and set the lexile slightly higher than their own level. For everyone, it enriches our conversations in the classroom because the core ideas of the readings are now accessible to students of almost every level. No one feels left out, and everyone can weigh in. There is, of course, a limitation in that you have to work with the articles on offer, but they have a very impressive variety that is constantly being updated. The paid version of the service is, however, quite expensive. Even though a lot of teachers in my school are now using it, the per student subscription fee was deemed to high at about USD18 per person. I am still using the free version.