Saturday, October 3, 2015

Newsela in the ESL Classroom

As an ESL teacher, I am constantly searching for the latest tools to help my students learn English. There are literally thousands of resources for teachers on the web these days. I spend a fair amount of my planning and free time poking around the Internet looking for the newest, edgiest, highest quality apps and sites to hook my students and boost their language skills. One that I've used for a few years now--and keeps getting better and better--is Newsela. Newsela is a leveled reading program that takes high interest articles from national and regional news sources and presents them across a variety of reading levels. This is particularly important in an ESL classroom in which there are students at varying stages of English language acquisition. As a class, students can read the same article while accessing it at his or her own reading level. Articles are paired with quizzes and writing prompts that are aligned with Common Core standards.

What's more, the talented staff at Newsela provide a wealth of tools for teachers and students, including a Learning & Support section that is brimming over with useful ideas. Most recently, Newsela has added Health and Sports to its sections, providing a wider array of articles that can be used by more teachers across more disciplines. Newsela also provides articles in Spanish, further supporting Spanish-speaking ELL's while giving teachers another method to check for understanding.

With the added bonus of being free, Newsela really is a gem. This semester, my ESL students have a goal of reading two articles per week. I'll post an update on our progress in a few weeks. In the meantime, I encourage readers to visit and browse around. Enjoy!