A native Spanish speaker and learner of the English language, I walked into my kindergarten classroom a curious child and walked out feeling disappointed, con mi corazón roto. Frustration was a common feeling associated with school when my parents were unable to help with my homework.
Years later, after many hours of working with two-way immersion programs, extensive research on summer literacy programs and the use of Spanglish in higher education, I find myself working for Newsela. It is the tool my family and I needed years ago. School resources for ELLs have come a long way since then. Newsela publishes relevant and thought-provoking nonfiction Spanish content at five levels of complexity for grades 2-12. Every article is accompanied by Common Core-aligned quizzes. Newsela was conceived to empower all students to learn at their own reading level, without isolating anyone based on reading level – or language.
- Language should not be a barrier for engaging in cohesive and meaningful conversation in a classroom. Newsela believes that all students in the classroom should have access to the same relevant content and a chance to join the larger conversation. Language should not be a barrier for classroom discussion and inclusion. Everyone in the classroom should have access to the same content at whatever level or language is most appropriate.
- Valuing language differences. Students perform better when they feel valued, so celebrating diversity and differences in languages is important in ensuring an inviting learning space for all. By allowing students to read in their native Spanish alongside their peers, teachers allow students to recognize their own inherent value. Furthermore, research shows there is much benefit in maintaining and developing bilingualism both cognitively and socially. Everyone has a voice; our job is to ensure everyone feels they have a right to use it.
- Integration not segregation. Language acquisition is often viewed as something that needs to happen outside of the content learning spaces, but this only alienates students. Research and practice recognize that students acquire language through the attainment of content knowledge. Put another way, studying abroad works best for acquiring a second language because one is immersed in the language in a contextual and real meaningful way, rather than separating language from context. Classroom settings should emulate these fundamental schools of thought. In short, language acquisition through content knowledge rather than language-only lessons are not only found to be more inclusive, but more effective too.
You can support your students with these Newsela features:
Daily Spanish Articles And Quizzes
We publish high interest and relevant nonfiction articles daily. Support your Spanish-speaking students by providing interesting and thought-provoking content that their English-speaking peers are also reading. Track their reading comprehension with the Common Core-aligned quizzes. Switch between Spanish and English to expose English Language Learners to leveled text in both languages. Cultivate an empowering learning space for your diverse students by valuing the language differences in your classroom.
Spanish Text Sets
Get your students thinking and talking about important issues as they build their background knowledge on a topic by browsing through our Spanish Text Sets.
Spanish Paired Text Set Writing Prompts
We pair two articles and pose critical questions to get students to start finding connections between issues or topics using Spanish Paired Text Sets.
Dive in! Join us for our ¡Explora Newsela Español! webinar. Learn more about how to access Spanish articles, Spanish Text Sets and Spanish paired Text Set writing prompts to apply to your daily classroom practice. You will have the opportunity to ask all of your questions and have them answered in real time with a member of our Spanish content team.
Evelyn Quezada is is a bilingual (English/Spanish) life learner, researcher and lover of life. She works on Spanish editorial and assessment as part of Newsela’s content team.