Opinion Responses with Newsela for Elementary Students

After reading an article on Newsela, students will write their own opinion of the topic
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Opinion Response Overview

About This Strategy

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.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Choose a topic that has the potential for varying opinions. Some suggested Newsela article types are listed below and are also included in the resource section below.

    • Opinion Articles

    • Pro/Con Article

    • Issue Spotlights

  2. Assign to students at least two articles related to the chosen topic.

  3. Decide if students are going to focus only on stating their own opinion or if they are also going to state a counterclaim.

    • If students do not yet have experience stating their opinion about a given topic, start by having them state just their opinion before adding in a counterclaim.

  4. Create a graphic organizer for students to organize their thinking. Example graphic organizers are linked in the resource section below which can be used or modified to fit the needs of the class.

  5. Make one copy of the appropriate graphic organizer for each student.

    • Some students may be ready to state a counterclaim, while other students may be working on providing reasoning for their own opinion. Personalize the instruction to meet the needs of each student. Not all students need to work with the same graphic organizer.

  6. Develop a rubric to assess student work. An example rubric is linked below which can be used or modified to fit the needs of the class.

Student Preparation:

  1. Review with students what an opinion is and how an opinion is stated.

  2. Have students practice stating their opinions about shared experiences such as school, recess, or their favorite class.

    • As students share their opinion, the teacher or the student can write the opinions on the board.

    • Once a few opinions are written, go over what makes a strongly worded opinion.

    • Share with students the opinion response sentence starter examples linked in the resource section below.

    • Have students edit the opinions written on the board so they are strongly worded.

  3. Explain to students that they will be reading about a given topic and have them turn and talk to a classmate about their initial opinion of that topic.

  4. Distribute to students the graphic organizer and have students record the topic, their initial opinion of it written in a complete sentence, and three reasons they have which support their initial opinion.

  5. Once students have their initial opinion and reasons written down, have them share their opinion and reasoning with a peer or small group.

  6. Explain the process of reading two articles on Newsela and using the Annotation feature to highlight information from the text to support their opinion.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students read two articles about the given topic.

  2. Make sure that students read each article twice. The purpose of the first read is to become familiar with the content of the article.

  3. During the second read, students will annotate the text to identity information from the article that supports or refutes their opinion.

    • Newsela PRO users can annotate directly in Newsela.

    • Non-PRO users can print off the article and have their students annotate it using colored writing utensils. Alternatively, non-PRO users can take notes on a separate sheet of paper while they read.

    • Annotations should be made as follows:

      • Green - information which supports their opinion

      • Red - information which refutes their opinion

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. After students have read and annotated a minimum of two articles students will conference with a peer or small group to talk about what they read and learned. During this discussion students will:

    • Explain their opinion prior to reading

    • Summarize each article they read

    • Go over the points from the articles which support their opinion

    • Share points from the articles which refute their opinion

  2. Once all students in the pairing or group have had a chance to share, have each student reflect on whether their original opinion has changed. Have students record their new thinking on their opinion response graphic organizer.

    • Whether their opinion has changed or stayed the same, students will use evidence from the text to support their updated opinion.

  3. Once students have become familiar with stating their opinion and citing evidence from the text to support their opinion, they can add in a counterclaim using the graphic organizer linked below.

Recommended Newsela Text or Text Sets


  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: General Education

Pro/Con Articles

  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: General Education

Issue Spotlight

  • Grade Level: 4-12
  • Content Area: General Education