Melbourne High School has recently subscribed to Newsela, a database of news articles that provides students access to current events and nonfiction literacy from all over the world. Covering high-interest topics from various subject areas like history, science, law, health, sports, money, and arts, Newsela is aligned to the Common Core standards that promote critical thinking and close reading skills.
Teachers enjoy the ability to assign articles in five different reading levels; for instance, all students can read about the world’s battle against animal extinction but do so at their own reading level, making the text much more accessible to every student. History and English teacher Amanda Patrick utilizes the program often. "I enjoy using Newsela in my classroom because the articles are about relevant topics and because they are available at different reading levels; all of my students can read, understand, and discuss the news."
To further aid the students with comprehension, students can annotate and highlight articles as they read, whether it be to emphasize a supporting detail or question troubling vocabulary. Teachers, too, have interactive access to the program, wherein they can customize the writing prompts and assignments to best meet the needs of each individual student.
Assessment is made easy, for educators have the ability to assign certain articles to their students who, in turn, will read the articles online and take quizzes based on what they read. This is particularly effective because teachers can view individual as well as class-wide results to determine whether or not their students understood the article.
Mr. Jim Carroll, principal, explains why Newsela was the right choice for MHS. “We chose Newsela in order to supplement the development of critical thinking skills and the students’ ability to support an opinion based on nonfiction text and articles that relate to current events.”