Active Reading using Notice and Note with Newsela Texts for Secondary Students

Students can use Notice and Note to think actively while reading and share reflections based on what they have learned
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Notice and Note Introduction

About This Strategy

Students can use the Notice and Note strategy by acknowledging signposts to notice and mark important moments in the text that they are reading. This strategy, based on Kylene Beers & Robert Probst's Notice and Note protocol, helps students focus on six easy to remember signposts for close reading and to reflect on what they have read. They include: Contrasts and Contradictions, Ah-Ha Moments, Tough Questions, Words of the Wiser, Again and Again, and Memory Moment. Notice and Note can be applied to many different Newsela articles and a range of text topics and themes and provides an opportunity for students to enhance their annotation and critical thinking skills.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Develop a mini-lesson of the six Notice and Note signposts prior to applying the strategy to the Newsela text. Consider viewing and then utilizing the short video included in the resource section below to help students visualize the strategy.

  2. Download and print Notice and Note bookmarks from a source such as the one included in the resource section below.

  3. Decide whether to divide students into small groups or have them work independently.

  4. Select a Newsela article or Text Set for students to read, and determine whether to lock the Lexile level of the Newsela article or allow students to choose their own Lexile level.

  5. Decide whether to have students focus on one signpost at a time while reading, or whether to have students focus on all signposts at once.  

Student Preparation:

  1. Introduce the Notice and Note signposts to students in a mini-lesson. Consider showing students the film included in the resource section below.

  2. Share with students the Notice and Note bookmarks that they will use as they read the text.

    • Encourage students to highlight important words and phrases on the bookmark to remind students of the signposts as they read.

  3. Preview the Newsela article or Text Sets and think about which signpost might apply to the topic.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students work either in small groups or independently to read the article(s). Those students who choose to read the text(s) in small groups may share their feelings when they are finished or read together and share their ideas as they read.

  2. Have students annotate the Newsela article using free tools provided by Newsela (see resource section below to learn about these tools).

    • Newsela PRO Subscription Teachers can add annotations for students to respond to while they are reading.

    • Non-PRO Subscribers can highlight the text but will need to respond to questions on a graphic organizer, such as the one in the Resources section below.

  3. As students are reading, circulate and assist groups or students that might be struggling.  Pay attention to their conversations and annotations and lead them when they get off-track.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students review their Newsela annotations and choose one signpost from Notice and Note to focus on as they write a reflection of their reading.

  2. Have students write a 1-2 paragraph reflection response on the signpost they chose and how it helped deepen their understanding of the topic.

  3. Students may write their response in Newsela or separately.

    • Newsela PRO users can modify the Write Prompt, and students can write their 1-2 paragraph response right in Newsela.

    • Non-PRO users can have students write their response by hand or by using Google Docs

  4. Have students share their responses with their small group or with the entire class.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Ancient historic sites in Yemen are in danger of being destroyed by war

  • Essential Question: In what ways does war affect history?
  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Content Area: Social Studies

Biggest challenge for refugee kids is enrolling in school

  • Essential Question:  What are some challenges that refugee children face?
  • Grade Level: 5-9
  • Content Area: Social Studies

With 250 babies born each minute, how many people can the Earth sustain?

  • Essential Question: What are the causes and effects of changes in our world's population?
  • Grade Level:  6-12
  • Content Area: Science & Math

EL Modifications

Students can activate their background knowledge and relate topics to their personal experiences, further deepening their learning.


  • Differentiate Vocabulary:

    • Review the article or Text Set prior to implementation in the classroom.  

    • Determine vocabulary that might be challenging.

    • Pre-teach vocabulary using flashcards.

  • Newsela PRO Subscribers can provide Newsela teacher annotations for students to spark new thinking.

  • Provide an Anticipation Guide to give students some background knowledge about the topic before they read it.

  • Provide sentence stems/starters for Write Prompt

To learn more about these modifications and others, consult the following resource: Echevaria, J. Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2017). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP Model. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Questions to Consider

  • How can teachers ensure that students are able to identify and apply skills from each of the six signposts?

Teacher Tips

Emily Iannotta
Newsela Master Teacher
  • Text Sets work well for students working individually or in small groups.

  • If planning to assign a text set, consider asking students to choose one article to start; Monitor understanding and objectives before students begin working on another article.

  • Encourage students to review their annotations in Newsela prior to completing their response.

  • Edit the Write Prompt in Newsela for student responses based on the signpost(s) the students need the most