Routines are essential to creating an environment in which students can work efficiently and independently. While Newsela can be used in a variety of ways and across all subject areas, there are specific guidelines for interacting with Newsela which set everyone up for success no matter how the resource is being used that day. Since students in the intermediate grades are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn, establishing basic routines can help set students up for success in interacting with a variety of informational texts.
Newsela offers a wide variety of informational articles across many subject areas with new content added daily. While there is certainly something for everyone, having so much choice can, at times, be overwhelming for younger students. Since students are more apt to engage in reading that sparks their interest, having the teacher curate a collection of peer-suggested articles will limit the number of options available while still allowing for student choice.
A one-page poster allows students to put together a creative, visual representation to demonstrate their understanding of any Newsela article or text. This versatile assignment can be used across many subject areas and tweaked to fit nearly any learning target.
Students will work to improve their reading comprehension with informational text by analyzing their reading scores on Newsela and then intentionally focusing on one reading skill at a time in order to make targeted improvements. These skills include: what the text says, central idea, people, places and events, word meaning and choice, text structure, point of view/purpose, multimedia, and arguments and claims.
A KWL chart shows students' knowledge of the content before reading, expresses what students are wondering about the dedicated topic, and showcases what students learned after reading about the topic on Newsela. KWL charts can be used with any Newsela article and across any subject area. Because KWL charts can be text-based or illustration-based, they are great for students of any age.
Newsela has so many different types of texts and topics that it can sometimes be difficult for students to figure out where to start. Newsela BINGO is an effective way to introduce students Newsela by having them explore the content on Newsela in a purposeful, fun way.
A body map is a way for students to show, in a creative manner, their comprehension and understanding of a particular person that they are reading about in an informational text. For informational texts such as Newsela articles, this strategy is ideal when students are reading biographies or about dream jobs. For narrative texts, this strategy can be used as a tool to analyze characters' impact on the plot, the relationship between characters, or character development.
The Frayer Model is a form of learning vocabulary in which students define the word, list its characteristics, and identify what the word means and what it does not mean. Using the Frayer Model gives students a broader and deeper understanding of vocabulary by helping them analyze words in the greater context of a reading passage and apply the knowledge in different ways. The Frayer Model can be used across all content areas and can be adapted to include components such as using the word in a sentence, drawing a picture representation of the word, or identifying what part of speech the word fits into.
This strategy helps students to form and express their opinion around a topic. Prior to reading selected articles from Newsela, students will state their current opinion on the topic and give reasons as to why they hold that opinion. Once students have read a minimum of two articles on Newsela about the topic, they will conference with their peers and write their updated opinion citing evidence from the text to justify their opinion.
A Fishbowl discussion is a conversational strategy where students not only practice the art of active discussion, but they also practice active listening and note taking skills. After reading a Newsela article around a common theme, students take turns participating in a structured small group discussion while their peers observe the conversation and take notes about what is being discussed. After the discussion, students share their observations with each other and set personalized goals to improve individual and whole class discussion skills for the next fishbowl discussion.