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20 Things You Didn't Know About Newsela

Newsela is a new startup that focuses on educational technology. It's designed to enhance the way that students view and perceive the world through the use of words. The company offers publications and online information that includes nonfiction articles, news and other types of content that offers solutions for educators to improve the literacy skills of their students in preparation for living in the real world in the 21st century. If you haven't heard about them yet, don't feel bad because the company hasn't been around for that long. You're definitely in the right place if you have an interest in a new and innovation approach to enhancing the learning process. Here are 20 things that you didn't know about Newsela.

1. The pro edition is fully customizable

This is good news for teachers in the public and private education sectors. Newsela educational content can be customized to fit in the the standards of the school district. This includes tailoring the articles and arranging them in assigned sets for specific courses, designing the instructions and activities and designating the reading levels. The program makes building lesson plans fast and easy.

2. It provides teachers with student insights

Teachers can use Newsela to learn about where student ready activity is at in real time. It also allows teachers to set independent reading preferences, to know if a student has completed an assignment and it delivers quiz scores instantly to assist in guiding instruction that is delivered to students. Having instant access to this information can save hours of instructor research and paper grading because it's all available in one handy location.

3. School administrators are given access to school and district reports

Newsela provides administrators with access to district-wide and school reporting on the level of use and engagement of instructors and students for the program. This makes it a useful tool for doing spot checks on certain classrooms, grade levels and the progress that individual teachers are making with their students. It can be used to stay on top of the activities of instructors in delivering the curriculum sets and to discover if individual classrooms are making progress in assignment completion along with learning assessments.

4. Newsela meets students at their individual reading levels

One of the most useful features about the Newsela program is that it gives teachers the capability of assigning the same readings for the entire classroom, but the assignments are presented to each student at their own reading level. This helps students to better understand the material that they are reading and instead of causing frustration, it can help students to build their reading skills by meeting them where they're currently at and going from there. It can be designed to simplify text and content that contains higher level words by rephrasing the material in a way that some students who may read at lower levels will better understand. It also helps students at higher levels to be more challenged by increasing the reading level for the same content that other students are reading.

5. Newsela was founded in 2012

Newsela has only been around for a little over 6 years. The company was established in July of 2012. It's an educational product that is intended to aid school districts in assessing student competency levels with periodic monitoring of reading activities and scores. Michael Gross is the co-founder of the company and he is also the CEO. Newsela falls under the category of literacy technology in education. It's one of the first programs of its kind that combines features that address the needs of struggling readers, those who are on track with their grade levels as well as helping advanced readers continue to develop and excel in their reading and literacy skills.

6. Instructors give Newsela high praise

A brief glance at the reviews for Newsela from school teachers shows that it's a program that makes instructing students easier, but that's just a small part of its usefulness. It's innovative and even revolutionary as an instructional aid. According to instructor reviews, it's benefiting the class by making it possible for all students to read and understand the same content. It's allowing schools to reach all of their students with educational content more effectively and this is what teachers have to say about Newsela.

7. Studies show that Newsela helps to increase reading gains

Multiple studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of Newsela for enhancing student literacy. What the data shows is that when students use Newsela twice a week they experience gains in reading and higher achievement scores by up to two times. When Newsela is used daily in coursework, the achievement scores are enhanced by up to three times. These are some impressive figures. Students from a wide variety of demographic subgroups were used in the study so this shows us that Newseal works for everyone.

8. Newsela is versatile

Ninety-five percent of teachers surveyed have shared that the content is highly useful in a variety of areas. It is very well-aligned with their teaching goals. This is an important feature because school districts set specific objectives for their instructors to teach to. With the high number of school districts struggling to bring their standardized test scores up, this is a vital factor in achieving a quality public education system for the students in our nation.

9. It provides diverse content

The content of the articles that are provided by Newsela is diverse and it covers a variety of topics. This serves two purposes as an educational tool. In addition to giving students meaningful practice with reading and building literacy skills, it also imparts knowledge in specific content areas. This makes it a cross-disciplinary tool that helps to enhance student skills in mutiple areas at one time. They're not only improving their reading skills, they're also learning about current affairs, endangered species, how animals interact with their environments and much much more. Surveys confirm that ninety-two percent of the teachers using Newsela have no trouble finding the content that they're looking for when putting together specific lesson plans for their students.

10. Newsela's content is relevant

Relevancy is one of the requirements for helping students to connect the instruction that they are receiving in the classroom to their lives and to the experiences they've had in their lives. This makes it easier for them to truly learn and absorb the information that they are reading. It also enhances recall because it is linked with familiar experiences. The content is relevant and expressed in ways that help students to form important cognitive connections. Ninety-four percent of teachers surveyed believe that the Newsela content is highly relevant to their students.

11. Teachers have confidence in the program

Ninety-three percent of the teachers that are currently using Newsela in their classrooms believe that the content is helping their students to achieve meaningful learning. They are readily absorbing the information because it is presented at a reading level with words that they can easily understand.

12. Newsela's content is empowering

One of the greatest benefits of Newsela is that the platform it has to offer for all students brings everyone on to a level playing field. Everyone is reading the same information, although it may be expressed with different words and phrases, the meaning is the same. This means that everyone can participate equally in classroom discussions because they will all have a good knowledge of the articles that were read. Nobody is left behind and this is especially empowering for students who have struggled with literacy and comprehension in the past. Ninety-five percent of instructors agree that this is the case.

13. Newsela is great for increasing general knowledge

Another goal of the educational system is to increase general knowledge in their students. This is the foundation for which all other learning will be applied. Having a strong general knowledge base gives students an edge on more advanced learning in the various topics and disciplines that are covered. Newsela articles help students to achieve this knowledge and ninety-seven percent of teachers using the program report that they see improvements in the general knowledge base of the students they teach.

14. Newsela puts vocabulary words in context

A big part of literacy is building vocabulary. The articles in Newsela strategically places vocabulary words within the text of the articles and it places them within a context that leaves no question about their meaning. These are called Power Words and they are embedded at each reading level. As a student's reading level moves to the next level, new and more challenging power words are added in the same manner to give the student a definition for each word that reveals its meaning. This is an excellent way to increase vocabulary and build literacy skills.

15. Newsela articles are student-friendly

The Power Words that are used along with their definitions are made to be student friendly along with the definitions. They are presented at the reading level that matches the student's current abilities yet the offer new words along with the definitions that are phrased in a way that makes them easy to understand.

16. Newsela takes the stress out of learning new things

Students are better able to learn new information when they are in a relaxed state of mind. Newsela provides practice activities to enhance learning with low stakes consequences. These are provided after each article to help students build a deeper understanding of the meaning of new vocabulary words in a setting that doesn't make them feel that they are taking a high stakes test or quiz with their grades on the line.

17. Newsela gives students a word wall

Each student is given an individual Word Wall. This is a collection of all the new vocabulary words which have been presented in the articles that they have read. The collection of words and points in the Word Wall can be accessed and reviewed at any time. This is not only useful for students, but teachers can also assign a review of the Word Wall to students as an assignment or practice exercise to increase literacy and comprehension skills. It's just another of the many features that can be customized to meet individual student learning things.

18. Newsela offers a mobile app

In keeping up with modern trends in access and technology, Newsela also offers Power Words on mobile. This means that students can also access activities that use the Power Words, or new vocabulary words on their mobile devices. This eliminates the excuse of being out of town. This is an appealing approach to learning that even makes it more fun and interesting for students.

19. Students can read daily news articles

Current and up to date articles and news are provided by Newsela for students. This helps young learners to get into the habit of keeping up on current affairs and what is happening in the world around them. The articles contain news from top newspapers on both a national and regional level. The news stories are presented at five different reading levels. This helps students to understand current affairs news in a style that is written at a level they can easily understand and digest. The reader is in charge of the reading level and if it's too hard or too easy, they can change the level with a single click.

20. Newsela is an award winning company

Further proof of the value and usefulness of Newsela is in the high levels of acclaim it has received. It won the Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge which is a major accomplishment. This is an impressive acknowledgement. Currently. Newsela is being used by thousands of educators from 20 countries throughout the world. It is also currently utilized in 50 of the United States. This is a phenomenal educational tool that is lauded as a miracle tool when it comes to increasing literacy and enhancing learning. It's a comprehensive and for teachers to fully customizable educational software that makes it easier for instructors to help their students in the learning process.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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