Newsela CHATS Paired Student Discussion

Build interest and active reading by pairing Newsela articles with structured partner conversations
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Newsela Chats Overview

About This Strategy

Newsela offers an excellent opportunity for students to practice active reading, monitor their own comprehension, and extend new learning to their own lives. Using Newsela Chats, students read and annotate their own articles independently, then discuss their reading with a partner using the CHATS framework (Connections, Help, Advice, Thoughts, Summary). Using this framework, partners apply information from their reading to their own lives and share key learnings with the rest of the class.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Create a class Text Set and make sure students know how to add articles to this Text Set. Students should be encouraged to add articles they're interested in reading to this Text Set.

    • Consult the "Creating a Class Text Set" Newsela/BetterLesson strategy for support.

  2. Become familiar with the Newsela Chats Note-Taker sheet (in resource section below).

Student Preparation:

  1. Preview the Newsela Chats Note-Taker sheet, and ensure that students understand each of its components.

  2. With a partner teacher or student who has been pre-selected, model a Newsela Chats discussion, as in the resources section.

  3. Have students browse Newsela, looking for articles they're interested in reading. These articles should be added to the class Text Set.

  4. Have students observe the model discussion and take notes about what makes for a good discussion and what takes away from the discussion.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Newsela article or Text Set at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student.

  2. While reading, students should complete the C, H, A, and T sections of the Newsela Chats Note-Taker.

    • Students may choose to annotate on the articles as they read, too. They should use the color-coding scheme on the Note-Taker sheet:

      • Connections should be annotated in yellow.

      • Help! should be annotated in red.

      • Advice should be annotated in green.

      • Thoughts should be annotated in blue.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. After reading, students should complete the "S" part of the CHATS notetaker and write a summary of the text they read.

  2. Then students should meet with a partner to share what they learned.

    • Teachers might consider using Clock Buddies, as in the resources section, or the Student Discussion Pairing Tools strategy in the BetterLesson lab, to assign student pairings.

  3. Partners should take turns sharing about their article, and students should share their summary first, then the information they deem most important from the rest of their Note-Taker sheet. Partners should ask questions while the other shares.

  4. After sharing, each student should complete an exit ticket, as in the resources section, to share what they learned from their partner.

  5. Teachers might consider sharing the Article Recommendation Sheet, as in the Resources section, for students to recommend articles to their friends.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Memoirs: Stories about Life with a Lesson

  • Grade Level: 9-12
  • Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies

Biotechnology: Just Because We Can, Should We?

  • Grade Level: 6-12
  • Content Area: English Language Arts, Science, Technology & Engineering

National Parks & Controversial Issues

  • Grade Level: 4-12
  • Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science