How I Use It
I discovered Newsela several years ago and found it an invaluable informational text resources. The stories are interesting and relevant to teens and help develop close reading skills. My district recently purchased the Pro version and I have liked it even more. Students are able to annotate, answer questions, develop questions and I can gauge their understanding. The stories captivate my teenage learners, launching them in some rich academic conversations. I generally give students several choices within a similar theme and then I group students based on the articles they chose to read. For ESL classes, Newsela helps me cover all language domains: listening, reading, speaking and writing, as well as vocabulary and grammar, as I teach English language in context. I highly recommend Newsela!
As an ESL teacher, Newsela facilitates differentiation among ELLs as it enables readers to adjust Lexile level. Some stories are even in Spanish which is good for native Spanish speakers to use as needed. My only caution to teachers is to ensure that students are dumbing themselves down by lowering the reading level instead of challenging themselves. Lower Lexile levels and Spanish texts should be used as a scaffold, to help students reach new heights, not as a crutch. I recommend Newsela be used as a literacy component to be used in together with other tools and strategies, not in isolation.