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EDLAB REVIEW

Newsela

by Demetri Lales

February 11, 2014

Article Body

Newsela is a news platform designed to build students’ reading comprehension through current events articles and embedded quizzes. Students, teachers, and parents can each sign up for their own accounts. The site has several news categories available including war & peace, science, kids, money, law, and health. Each article can be adjusted to different reading levels according to the Lexile scale, ensuring that readers of any level can understand the article. Teachers can assign quizzes on each article for their students to answer. Each article is accompanied by multiple choice questions and each Lexile level has a different set of up to four questions.

Pros:

The articles are of high quality and come from reputable sources like The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Orlando Sentinel. Some articles have notations about what types of skills readers will learn from reading the article and taking the quiz. Examples of these skills include central idea, wording meanings, and text structure. Each quiz question displays the type of skill it represents along with the appropriate grade level. Readers have five different Lexile levels to chose from and each level includes a different quiz that is appropriate for that reading level.

Cons:

Quizzes are short with up to four questions for every article at a specific level. It would be helpful for teachers to be able to add more questions and explore more question type options. Not every article is accompanied by a quiz. Usually this applies to breaking news as creating quiz questions takes time and Newsela is constantly making fresh news articles available for students to read.

Our Takeaway:

It seems that Newsela strives to complete two learning goals: the first is helping students improve their reading comprehension skills, and the second is teaching students about current events. The different Lexile levels open up the platform to a broad range of students who can manually adjust to the level that is right for them. Young students may find the ability to lower the Lexile level very valuable. It could enable them to understand current news more easily. Teachers may find the combinations of quizes and articles useful for testing students’ reading comprehension levels.

The Bottom Line:

Newsela provides the news and the learning.

Image: Logo via Newsela