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Newsela: making news accessible for more learners

Face it.  The news is not written for most of our kids, especially those who are struggling readers or new English learners.

I showed Newsela to my ELL and several of my ELA teachers early this semester and we have some devoted fans.

Launched in June, and the winner of a Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge, Newsela publishes articles at five levels of text complexity for students in grades 3 to 12, allowing everyone to participate in the conversation.

The platform allows registered teachers to create a variety of versions of engaging news articles and to give

each student the version of an article that’s just right for his or her reading ability.  An an easier or harder version of each article is just a click away.

This is not an expansive search tool.  It is more a tool for instruction.

Articles are selected by an editorial team led by Jennifer Coogan, a former reporter for Bloomberg and Reuters.  In partnership with papers from the McClatchy and Tribune Companies, the team selects two news stories each day–generally one breaking news and one feature story and rewrites the pieces to level them. Stories grouped into the categories: War & Peace, Money, Kids, Science and Law.

 The team selects

articles that are timely (often breaking news), worldly (we balance domestic US stories with international coverage), and substantial (you won’t find Justin Beiber and his pet monkey in Newsela). We are very deliberate in distributing alignment of articles across a range of Common Core standards.

Registration is free and teachers may use the platform to set up classrooms.  

Many of the articles are accompanied by a Common Core-aligned quiz, also adjusted by Lexile, designed to check for student understanding, to prompt critical thinking and to provide teachers with immediate feedback.

A dashboard of analytics allows teachers to track student progress.  




Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Mary Clark says:

    The teachers at my middle school love using Newsela. I was concerned that it would be used as part of a student’s grade (I worry about students sharing quiz answers!) but our teachers are using it in more creative ways. Students enjoy choosing their own articles to read, and the articles are useful for demonstrating close reading. Newsela is my favorite Common Core-related resource this year!

  2. Ambika says:

    KidSenz is another website to consider as a resource that brings news for kids in an engaging manner. The videos with animation and articles are perfect to introduce news and current affairs to elementary and middle schoolers. Please check it out and if you like it share it with your students:

  3. Just shared NewsELA with my staff who are over the moon with joy! A tremendously useful resource, thanks for highlighting it!

  4. We just posted a free Newsela common core graphic organizer on We love this excellent educational resource! You can access it at Have a great lesson. Tony at Instructomania

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