Teachers can pair texts on Newsela to support historical and contemporary connections for analysis. Using Newsela articles, students can analyze how a topic might be written about differently by different authors or article types (editorial, opinion, explainer). When students compare two texts about the same topic, they're able to deepen their understanding of the topic through analysis of multiple sources. Through their close reading of paired texts, students notice key differences and commonalities between the texts, leading them to ask deeper, more analytical questions. Using Newsela, teachers and students are able to identify topics for paired texts, use Annotations to track their thinking, and then respond to an analytical Write Prompt.
Teacher Preparation and Planning:
Create (or use an existing) Newsela Text Set that includes multiple articles about the same topic. Students who cannot decide on their own topic can access this Text Set.
Create a classroom poll page, such as Mentimeter or Poll Everywhere (linked in the Resources section) where students can submit responses to brainstorming. They will revisit the response page later in the strategy to select their own topic.
In pairs, have students brainstorm:
2 societal problems or issues
2 technological advances
2 environmental issues
2 current political issues
From their list of 8 topics, student pairs should select their top 3 and send them in to the class response page. This will create a class topic list.
From the class topic list, each student pair will select a topic and search the Newsela Library to find 2 articles related to this topic. Depending on the unit of study, teachers may choose to place parameters around student article selection. For example:
In an English Language Arts class, teachers might have students select one editorial and one informational article.
In a Social Studies class, teachers might have students select one current event article and one related historical event article for analysis.
Teachers should preview the Paired Texts graphic organizer (as in the resources section) with students and model its use with 2 short texts of different genres. For instance, teachers might model with an opinion text and an informational text about the same topic.
Teachers may choose to model completion of the graphic organizer using the texts linked in the Example Graphic Organizer, in the Resources section.
Each student reads both Newsela article independently, at the recommended Newsela reading level for each student.
While reading, students independently complete a graphic organizer to analyze how the topic is presented in each article.
Newsela PRO users should also have students use annotations to capture their thinking. Students should annotate commonalities between the articles (style, details, evidence, etc.) in GREEN. Students should annotate differences in RED.
Students should share what they've learned about their topics with their partners, focusing on the ideas in the graphic organizer and their annotations. Explaining their notes to a partner will help students further process the information.
Based on partner responses, students should add to their graphic organizers.
Students should select one of the Paired Text Questions, as in the resources section, and respond to it in the Write Prompt area.
Non-PRO users can have students answer in their journals.
Students should engage in a structured discussion (teachers might consider using the Speed Dating strategy) to share what they wrote in their Write Prompt response. With a partner, students should share:
An article summary
Which paired text question they selected
Their response to the question
Ask for feedback from their partner
Repeat steps a-d, with the other partner sharing this time.
After discussion and soliciting input from their partner, students should extend their Write Prompt response into a larger, analysis essay, using a graphic organizer like the one in the Resources section to support their pre-writing planning.
Paired Texts & Creative Writing Performance Task
Paired Texts & Argumentative Performance Task
As suggested in the Newsela Paired Text Text Sets, teachers can use Paired Texts to craft more sophisticated writing tasks, as in the Resources section.
This Paired Text strategy is an excellent introduction into Research Paper writing for upper level English classes; it supports students in analysis, synthesis, and, with the annotations feature, can scaffold students into citing text evidence.