Newsela.com adjusts online news articles to student lexile level

The email from the school librarian seemed too good to be true.  It stated, “https://www.newsela.com/ High Interest daily articles from major publications- each one avail at 5 reading levels! Common Core aligned & each has 4 reading comprehension questions (mult. choice). Go see it!”

I did, and I’m hooked.  I’ve set up sharing options for both my English and journalism-related classes.

It’s free and easy to register, set up classroom codes (similar to Edmodo.com), and choose articles by categories:  war and peace, science, kids, money, law, health, and the arts.

A search for journalism-related articles yields six articles from the above categories.

In addition to lexile leve, which is demonstrated below, teachers can attach anchor standards to reading.

Newsela and Anchor Standards
Newsela gives teachers the ability to attach Common Core anchor standards to readings.

Below is an example of the article pictured in this post, adjusted by lexile level (blue is grade 12 and red is grade 4).

1120 Lexile level  For years, chocolate lovers have been comforted by the fact that bittersweet dark chocolate seems to improve cardiovascular health. Somehow, the tasty treat is good for the heart and blood vessels.

On Tuesday, researchers announced that they had solved the chocolate mystery: Specific chocolate-loving microbes in the gut convert an otherwise indigestible portion of the candy into anti-inflammatory compounds — that is, into mixtures of substances that reduce pain and swelling.

650 Lexile Level  For years, people who love chocolate had something to be happy about: Chocolate can be good for you. It’s long been known that bittersweet dark chocolate is good for the heart. Somehow, the tasty stuff helps prevent diseases that attack the heart.Scientists, however, have always been unsure just why this is so — until now, that is.

On Tuesday, scientists announced that they had solved the chocolate mystery. Tiny organisms called microbes are responsible. They are in our guts and they love to eat chocolate. The microbes turn the chocolate into something useful: a substance that fights inflammation. Inflammation causes pain and swelling in the body and can lead to dangerous health problems. 

According to the “About Newsela” link: “Launched in June 2013, Newsela publishes high-interest news articles daily at five levels of complexity for grades 3-12 using Newsela’s proprietary, rapid text-leveling process. Common Core–aligned quizzes attached to articles give educators and parents insight into their students’ reading strengths and weaknesses. Newsela develops nonfiction fluency and critical-thinking skills necessary to master the Common Core standards for informational text.”

Michelle Harmon

Michelle Harmon is in her 13th year of teaching and advising the school newspaper at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho. She is state director of Idaho JEA and President of the Idaho Student Journalism Association.

mharmon has 55 posts and counting.See all posts by mharmon

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