This Powerful Reading Comprehension Skills Development System is Aligned to Common Core and NGSS Standards
Yesterday, we got a good look at Newsela, with a focus on the many things teachers and students can do with the free edition of the tool. Today, we take a deeper look, exploring functionality that is specific to the paid “PRO” version of the application.
With Newsela PRO, you can analyze student performance on the quizzes that are available for each article. Did we mention that these quizzes are adaptive, changing as the reading level of the articles change? Higher reading level … more challenging quiz. Very cool.
In the screen shot at the start of this article, you see quiz results for each student in a demo class. From this screen, if the teacher double-clicks on a student's row, an interactive screen will open where they can explore that student's results over time, and filter results to focus on specific Reading Standards. This information can be invaluable in assessing where a student is struggling, helping with the development of an action plan to address areas the student needs to work on.
You can also see how your students are doing in comparison to the averages for other students in the same grade that use the platform. This view categorizes students by levels, to help you quickly identify students you can group together to provide individualized support more efficiently!
Prompting Students to Write and Offer Feedback
One of the other rich functions in Newsela PRO is the ability to create custom interaction prompts for students. There are two methods to do this – one for all students who are given an assignment, and one that enables interacting with individual students.
In the screen shot below, look at the control bar on the right. This is where you can see and change the reading level (the 1140L, 980L, etc., indicating the Lexile level). By clicking “Quiz”, students can take the pre-defined quiz for that article, for that reading level. Lastly, note the “Write” option. When students click the Write option, they are presented with a prompt to respond to (see the example below).
Here we see a default question, but with Newsela PRO, you can edit the question that is presented, to fit your class and your instructional context.
Custom Annotation Prompts Throughout the Article, for Individual Dialogue With Each Student
The other mechanism that exists in Newsela to get students to write and respond to questions while reading is the Shared Annotations tool.
Teachers can create prompts throughout the text, to which students will write responses. Both teacher and student can communicate privately through this annotation tool, so teachers can provide individual responses to student submissions, and students can respond in turn, and so on.
More About the Teachers Using Newsela
It doesn't take a ton of imagination to realize that the potential uses for Newsela are pretty wide ranging. While it is most widely used by ELA teachers, it is also notably popular in Middle School courses, where students are transitioning from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. It is also being used in science courses, social studies, arts, history, and even in Higher Education to help adults with English as a Second Language.
The platform is expanding in terms of content, functionality, and usage, every day. With over 5 million student users and 400,000 teachers, Newsela is now in over 70% of US K-12 schools!
In closing, obviously, I'm a fan of this application. I just haven't see many applications written with this level of sophistication, based on a thorough understanding of learning science and the requirements of the Common Core and other evolving standards. There is some rich functionality to leverage in the free product, and what you can do with the paid version has lots of schools and districts signing up (note: Newsela PRO is custom priced for each situation, you have to talk to the folks at Newsela to learn more about that).
So what are you waiting for? Click on over to Newsela, sign up for a free teacher account, and explore it for yourself today!