Newsela

 

Learning(i)

Versatile site lets kids read news at their own level.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site's content encourages kids to learn about current events and other topics.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A subscription-based version, Newsela Pro, is available for teachers for $18 per student.

 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids don't need to enter an email address when registering; they only have to create a username and password. They could, in theory, connect with other users on the site's Facebook or Twitter pages, but kids can't interact directly with other users, unless it's a parent.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Newsela is a website that offers kids the chance to read about current events at the level they're comfortable with. When kids sign up, they'll need to click on an email-verification link to get started. Once registered, you'll receive a start-up code that family members can use to log in. Kids will need to register separately with their own usernames and passwords, enter the code, and view articles you've selected.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • text analysis

Science

  • animals
  • astronomy
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • events
  • global awareness
  • power structures

Arts

  • music
  • painting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • investigation
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Parents can assign articles to kids to help guide them through the process; users also can add brief comments to point out key passages and writing techniques. Major discussion likely will need to take place offline, though.

Learning Approach

Kids will learn about national and international events and science, art, money, law, health, and other topics. The site can help them practice reading and strengthen reading-comprehension skills in the process.

Support

The site offers some special promotions, such as a summer reading challenge, to encourage kids to read, but there aren't many extras for parents or teachers.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • text analysis

Science

  • animals
  • astronomy
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • events
  • global awareness
  • power structures

Arts

  • music
  • painting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • investigation
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Kids can learn about current events, science, art, money, the law, health, and other topics. A kids section features youth-oriented articles; a section on war covers national and international conflicts. Perusing articles and taking quizzes will provide reading and reading-comprehension practice. Articles are available in different versions for kids at different reading levels and touch on concepts such as word meaning and choice. Kids and adults can add comments and reply to them. The quizzes are the most concrete way to test what kids understand, but not all articles have them. Adding more would help increase the site's learning factor. Newsela could use a bit more content, but it really supports kids at various levels with comprehending current events. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

NEWSELA is updated daily with news from regional newspapers and other publications. Articles are available for five reading levels, ranging from third grade to high school. Some have quizzes that test comprehension. The Common Core-aligned content is split into various sections, such as science, money, and health. Parents assign articles and monitor what kids read. Kids and adults can add article comments to highlight portions or ask question. Registration is free; a paid subscription also is available for schools.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Newsela isn't an overly complex site -- parents select articles for kids, kids log in and read them, and parents monitor their progress. Some articles feature detailed quizzes that help determine whether or not kids have understood what they've read. However, a fair amount of articles don't; parents will need to comment online or offline about them to make sure kids are building stronger reading-comprehension skills. 

The comment feature is a nifty addition; it lets parents and kids touch base on what they're reading. And the articles are, for the most part, well written: The topics are age-appropriate, and kids can access different versions that range in detail based on their reading levels, which helps customize the experience. Newsela posts three new articles a day, so kids probably won’t end up spending hours on the site; however, for families trying to curb kids' internet usage, that may not be a bad thing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how news is covered. Ask your child to point out the who, what, when, where, and why elements in an article.

  • Can your child identify key differences between legitimate news sources, such as a newspaper, and online gossip or opinion sites? Discuss how to tell whether a site can be considered a reputable information source. 

  • Show your child a few websites that have narrative writing and opinion-based pieces, such as a column, and then share a few examples of articles that illustrate impartial newswriting. Can your child tell the difference between the two forms?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Newsela was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator Written byDarin Chambliss September 10, 2014
age 8+
 
LEARNING

Awesome tool to differentiate!

We are using this tool coupled with SRI scores to better differentiate our instructional efforts with students in need of reading help.
What other families should know
Great messages
Educator Written byVikingNewTech September 9, 2014
age 10+
 
LEARNING

Great for Differentiation!

Great website that allows you to modify news articles to fit several different levels of Lexile Scores. The constant updates of recent and interesting articles helps peak interests in students while challenging them to read at their levels and engage in materials with students reading at different levels. Also many articles come with assignments/quizzes at the end that are great for review check ups.
Parent of a 12 year old Written byharrytasker July 23, 2014
age 7+
 
LEARNING

Good news site

They have all kinds of different stories about stuff...
What other families should know
Great messages

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