There are options for accessing informational text online, and current events offer relevant text through a website called Newsela.com. This Web 2.0 option not only publishes current event articles, it takes these articles one step further with Lexile levels, giving teachers the opportunity to use the same topic and present a differentiated reading level for all students.
For instance, here is a snapshot from yesterday’s headlines…
There are a couple features to notice when navigating Newsela. First, the Lexile ranges are adjustable, even though the topic/headline will remain the same. In the above snapshot, the Lexile level is set at 1080, which correlates to a 7th grade reading level and a word count of 955. However, in the snapshot below, the Lexile level is set at 640, which correlates to a 3rd grade level and a word count of 495. You can also compare the complexity of the text in the first paragraph.
However, when students log in, they will only see the word count (see example below).
In addition to the ability to manipulate the Lexile levels, there are writing prompts and comprehension quizzes for each level as well.
Students receive instant feedback when the quiz is complete, including the option to review. The article is still displayed for students to reference.
There are many more ways to use Newsela, and it is a worthwhile site to investigate and implement with students. It has already been approved by the district for use, so please feel free to contact me for additional lesson planning support.
I am a technology integration coach for a school district supporting one preschool, fifteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Check here for the latest updates on instructional technology.