NewsELA - Differentiate Reading for Your Students

NewsELA - Differentiate Reading for Your Students

Today's guest post come to us from Evan Payne, GCISD Instructional Coach.  You can follow Evan on Twitter @EvanPayneGCISD or on his blog  

I started to explore NewsELA this past summer after a colleague of mine (Laura Koehler) told me about this site.  I am very impressed with what this website has to offer and what it could do to help teachers bring in current events through text that is leveled.  During a few summer trainings and occasionally throughout the year, I have been sharing this tool and helping teachers get connected to it to use in their classroom.  It is a free site, easy to use, and doesn't take long for a teacher to become comfortable with how to use it.  The website is - and the following are some of the big ideas I have pulled from NewsELA:

  • A free website for teachers and educators
  • Nonfiction literacy and current events – pulls news stories into the classroom.
  • These are stories that have been picked and then rewritten to help teachers differentiate in their classroom.
  • Basic features – War & Peace, Money, Kids, Science, Law Health, Arts and the new category - Sports.  Articles are written with four to five levels.
  • The text is based on a lexile score – teachers and students can choose the level of the text to help them comprehend what is happening in today's news.
  • Mainly for grades 3-12
  • Teachers sign-up for the site and then receive a code.  The teachers can them give the code to their students so they have access to the site by being added to the teacher’s class (building your class is easy!). 
  • Some stories have comprehension quizzes to assess learning.  The teacher can then view how students scored.  The teacher can see what sections the students are highlighting.
  • Quizzes can be performed on iPads and computers at this time.  They are currently working to make them compatible with Android tablets.
  • The Stories are high interest nonfiction news articles.
  • The teacher dashboard gives teachers information about how their students are understanding the text they are reading.
  • Teachers could use this in reading groups or even in a flip classroom situation where students read certain articles at home and come back to the classroom to discuss it further.

It is possible that some material covers information that might not be recommended for some students – so teacher and parent discretion is advised. 

These are few YouTube videos to help you learn more about the site:

  1. This video shows the features of changing the lexile levels of the text:
  2. This video shows how the teacher can set up a classroom, how the students can connect to this class, how the quizzes work for students, and then how the teacher would be able to see the results of student quizzing:

A blog that I found recently that helps blend this site with Google is titled "NewsELA + Google Docs = Differentiated, Collaborative Reading!" - check it out too!