Newsela unlocks the written word by delivering news content at just-right reading levels

App of the Week
Formats: Website and app for iOS devices

Website: Newsela

What does it help with?

Newsela is a literacy company that unlocks the written word for students by delivering content from top news sources adapted to just the right reading level. Statistics show that 20 million American students are not reading at grade level. What the folks at Newsela aim to do is help teachers improve those numbers. Newsela builds the reading skills that will power students through school, college, careers, and civic life.

What grade and age range?  K-12

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?

Newsela can be used in core reading and literacy subjects. It can be seamlessly integrated into any classroom curriculum and with the iOS app, students can take Newsela anywhere.

What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?

Newsela develops nonfiction fluency and critical-thinking skills necessary to master the Common Core standards for informational text. Newsela articles span a variety of topics, including science, literature and social studies. Newsela provides text sets for each topic, as well as regional news and text sets for Spanish-language readers.

What lesson time does it use?

Newsela can be integrated into any lesson plan to help students read and understand current events as it relates to the curriculum.

What is the pricing model?

Newsela is free for all students and teachers.

Teachers may upgrade to Newsela PRO for an enhanced experience. Annual subscriptions to Newsela PRO are available for classrooms, grade level, school or district. To find out more information about Newsela PRO, click here.

Are there services around it?

Newsela Pro features include the ability for teachers to assign specific articles, use article annotations, run progress reports, track progress against reading and writing standards, and more.

What makes Newsela unique?

At this time, there is no other company with a similar offering. Newsela reports they are used by more than 70 percent of all U.S. public schools—a number that has doubled in the last year. Currently, more than 5.8 million students use Newsela.

A description of the characteristics--how is it designed for user interface, user experience? What instructional design principles are at work here?

The website design is a streamlined, straightforward experience for any user. Newsela’s ease of navigation and quickly accessible text sets make for a seamless user experience. With the Newsela app, the entire library of leveled articles are searchable both online and offline. For the first time, readers can adjust the reading level of their news articles with a simple two finger swipe.


Teacher reviews:

Teacher: “[Newsela] allows students to read current events at their reading level while igniting a passion to make a change. It expands the audience outside of the classroom and gives my students a unique voice.”


Teacher: “This is one of the only products that provides something new and innovative that I've never seen before. It actually solves a real problem that students have had with searching the internet for news articles. I have students using this product that are able to finish their work for the first time this year.”


Teacher: “It heightens students awareness, and builds a community of thinkers. It has the potential to teach and nurture compassion, as well as general knowledge, geography, a broad base of historical underpinnings.”


Teacher: “...A great resource of current events that students find engaging and informative. Students are connecting to and having discussions about real world problems or issues.”