Updates to better serve the elementary classroom
When Newsela started in 2012, we set out to unlock the written word for everyone with leveled current events articles and assessments designed for English Language Arts classrooms. Thanks to the support of hundreds of thousands of teachers from across the country and around the world, the Newsela Instructional Content Platform has come a long way since then; we’ve published thousands of articles across a range of topics that engage millions of readers and begun to change the conversation around reading engagement. For this school year, we’re excited to announce a series of product improvements that make Newsela even more relevant and effective for elementary classrooms.
Max6 content: Perfect for grades 6 and under
From the start, we’ve been publishing each article on Newsela at 5 reading levels so every article would be accessible to every student in a class, regardless of reading ability. But as more elementary teachers joined Newsela, you told us that many articles—which range from elementary all the way up to high school reading levels—were still out of reach for some of your youngest readers. To better support you and your students in elementary classrooms, we’ve begun publishing a new catalogue of articles we call “Max6.” These articles are selected and leveled specifically for teaching and engaging students in grades 2-6.
Power Words: Teach vocabulary in context
Vocabulary is crucial to building fluency and comprehension for young readers, and research shows that the best way to learn new words is to encounter them in context. That’s why we created Power Words—a more authentic way for your students to learn vocabulary. Instead of memorizing lists of words, your students are introduced to words by encountering them when they read Newsela articles. Five Power Words with student-friendly definitions are embedded in every Max6 article, so your students can discover vocabulary words at their own reading level, in context, while reading about something that interests them.
After reading, any student whose school has a Power Words license can practice the words they’ve learned. To help students build an understanding of word meaning, we’ve included ten low-stakes Power Words activities with each article. Once students finish the practice activities, Newsela collects the words to each student’s individual Word Wall, where they can return for later review and practice. Newsela uses the results of each student’s activities to make personalized recommendations for the next Power Words article they read. Teachers can review student vocabulary progress in the “Power Words” tab of their Binder.
Power Words and the student-friendly definitions are available to every student and teacher on Newsela. Power Words activities, personalized Power Words articles, the student Word Wall, and the Power Words tab in teachers’ Binders are available to schools that have purchased a Power Words license.
Improved browsing and reading experience for young readers
Valuable class time should be spent focusing on the lesson at hand. This is why we’ve made it easier for your students to find the content they need, and for you to manage your classroom. Now students will see two main tabs when they sign in to Newsela. When you assign an article, your students will immediately see that assignment on their “Your Assignments” tab. Using Newsela for independent reading? Students can also find age-appropriate recommendations in their “Explore” tab, and they’ll receive personalized article recommendations for the next Power Words articles they should read.
When your students read their first Newsela article of the school year, they’ll also see a simplified article page. To minimize distractions to students while they read, we’ve moved the leveling bar and the article activities to a new menu at the top of the article.
When we arm you with materials that truly engage your students, there is no limit to what you can achieve together. With these improvements, we aim to help you kick off the most engaging school year yet.
Dan Cogan-Drew, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer