A cool new news-as-literacy platform launched this week. Newsela “is an innovative way for students to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news.”
We’ve been tracking Newsela CEO Matthew Gross since he was Executive Director at the New York Regents’ Research Fund.
Newsela features articles written at multiple levels of text complexity and quizzes to test reading comprehension. Teacher tools make it easy to assign articles, review student quizzes and track Common Core mastery.
“As a teacher, you can also assign articles to your class, hide articles that you don’t want the class to see, review student results on each level and standard in the Binder, drill down on individual student quiz results, and add and manage classes and profile information,” said Gross. See the Newsela release below for more.
LAUNCH OF NEWSELA MEANS GREAT NEWS FOR LITERACY
Beta release gives teachers free access to leveled, nonfiction texts
NEW YORK, June 17, 2013 – Newsela launched on Monday to provide teachers with an intuitive and engaging way to help their students gain the reading and critical thinking skills they will need to be successful in college and real life.
U.S. literacy is in crisis. Research shows the reading required in college and the workplace has grown more demanding in its complexity. But the complexity bar for grade-school reading has dropped. Kids are simply not being prepared for college-level work–and not just in English classes, but in any class that requires reading, including science courses. Half of all students who enter college fail to graduate on time, often because they can’t make sense of their coursework.
Newsela helps students climb the staircase of reading complexity from elementary through high school by providing daily news articles written at five levels of difficulty. Newsela adapts to each student’s reading ability so they always get just-right content while having the power to stretch themselves. Articles are paired with quizzes aligned to the new Common Core State Standards so teachers can track their students’ progress on a daily basis.
The Common Core demands schools pivot from a focus on fiction to nonfiction. Teachers who have stayed up late hunting down and manually leveling their own texts know that there’s a shortage of appropriate nonfiction reading material at their disposal. Newsela will spare them those late nights by providing articles appropriate for their entire class, from advanced readers to English-language learners and special education students.
“Every teacher I know struggles with classrooms full of kids at dramatically different reading abilities,” said Matthew Gross, Founder & CEO of Whipsmart. “We built Newsela for them.”
By reading Newsela, students not only get experience reading more rigorous texts, they gain a wealth of background knowledge about the topics covered by current events including law, public policy, geopolitics, science and nature.
“We are responsible not only for teaching our subject areas as they were but also teaching the events of the world as they unfold around us,” said sixth grade teacher Danielle Giusto Maqsood, who uses Newsela with her students daily. “It has been very exciting to hear our scholars make connections to world news they read on Newsela during class discussion.”