Looking for nonfiction texts to use with your class? Then you should check out Newsela. On Newsela, you can search for articles on a wide variety of topics, including art, geography, US and world history, science, and math. These articles are available to teachers for free (there is a paid Pro version that includes additional features).
Bibliographic information is easily found at the beginning of the article to help students cite their sources using date and author. Photos in each article are sourced and captioned, so students can see what that documentation looks in an authentic writing piece. I can use this to help my students as they write more evidence-based pieces and highlight the importance of citing their sources, whether text or image.
There are also opinion pieces that relate to current events that students are interested in. You can find pro/con articles in this section, written by two different authors. These will be great mentor texts for when my students are learning to write their own evidence-based opinion writing pieces.
One amazing feature of Newsela is that you can adjust the reading level on each article to fit the reading needs of each of your students.
Each article also has a short quiz and writing prompt to support your students’ understanding of the content.
Text sets are another great feature, as the Newsela staff has organized some articles around specific themes in all of the content areas and Spanish-language articles.
You can bookmark text sets that you want to reference later or share with your students.
Since my first unit is on human rights, I am excited to look at articles about civil rights in the past and present, including current events. You can also create your own text sets using the articles available on the Newsela website.
I am looking forward to using Newsela to support my students in their research and nonfiction reading skills. Since I use a lot of inquiry in the classroom, I see myself using Newsela to provide texts for my students as they learn about the content that is intriguing to them within each unit. Also, I plan on using Newsela to introduce background information to students, so they have a general understanding of each unit before they delve more deeply into the areas that interest them.
I am discovering new things on Newsela every time I log in. Today, I learned that there are transcripts to famous speeches throughout history, including Woodrow Wilson, Sojourner Truth, and Steve Jobs.
There are also biographies, primary source documents, and myths and legends for you to use with your students.
There are some even newer updates, courtesy of the Newsela Blog: Max6 and Power Words. Max6 are articles designed for elementary school teachers, where the highest reading level is 6th grade. Power Words highlight important and Tier 2 vocabulary words that students need to know, including a definition and a pronunciation button so students can hear what the word sounds like.
There are so many great features to Newsela, and I am sure that you will find more when you get on to discover it yourself. I hope this is a useful tool for both you and your students as you get into nonfiction texts together.