ISTE 2017: Newsela Is The Best Way For Students To Master Non Fiction In Any Subject
It’s been proven time and time again that students learn better and engage more with content that they’re interested in. Not every student may be a newshound but chances are within the daily pages of today’s news sites there’s a story that will appeal to most students. Whether it’s the Warriors winning the championship, Jeff Sessions giving testimony or Danica Patrick’s quest on the Nascar circuit, current events can improve engagement.
Reading the news improves not just reading skills and reading comprehension, but even makes kids more empathetic, according to this piece from The Washington Post. To get kids reading more current events, and teachers staying on top of their work, Newsela has created a comprehensive platform that’s part content aggregator, part learning system, part assessment and all good.
Newsela takes content from partners like The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Guardian, National Geographic and many others and rewrites the articles at five reading levels, making the news more accessible and appropriate, for all ages. The company has baked in assessment and tracking tools so that teachers can keep up with what the students are reading.
Newsela is first and foremost a reading tool. But the company is finding that teachers are able to take current events that may be causing reactions in class, and point students to the relevant articles about those events. Now students can come up with their own opinions on the subject matter, over what they may hear at home, or in the community.
“Teachers were noticing a lot of finger pointing. This is helping students find middle ground and learn about the lived experience of others … so students who might have no exposure to these communities can go deep beyond what they might see in a social media headline. You can’t learn empathy 140 characters at a time.” Newsela CEO Matthew Gross told The Washington Post.
Gross echoed what we said at the beginning of this story. At the core, Newsela is about teaching, reading and learning, and when students can engage with the content at a more intimate level, naturally more learning takes place.
“Relevance means so much to students,” Gross said. “When students feel as though a topic is relevant they perform better on standardized tests, it feels applicable to them. It doesn’t mean we throw out historical documents, but it brings it much more to life when you can tie it to things in their lives and the communities around them.”
Gross founded Newsela in 2013. Today there are over 1,000,000 educators in their network. Find out more about Newsela at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, June 25th-28th, booth #445 and online at newsela.com